Virtual forum to help men ‘express themselves’ set for Thursday

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“Let’s do better” is the theme for the upcoming International Men’s Day Forum being hosted by the Sonia Noel Foundation slated to be held virtually on Thursday.

The two-day event falls in line with this year’s theme for International Men’s Day – “Better relations between men and women” and this year, much focus will be placed on fostering an environment where men can fully express themselves without fear.

The theme is considered apt to Noel, Founder of the Sonia Noel Foundation, who in an interview with the News Room on Tuesday expressed that the conversation to bridge the existing gaps between men and women is long overdue.

And with this year’s forum featuring a wide cross-section of men from Guyana, it is an excellent starting point, she added.

“We have to constantly think about how can we better how can we bridge that gap? How can we extend the olive branch and we have to think about ways how can we get action from talking about the things we need to correct in our society,” Noel shared during the interview.

The full list of the panelists for the upcoming forum.

“Our slogan is let’s do better, let’s do better for ourselves as individuals, let’s do better for relationships with men and women, let’s do better with the environment.

“It’s going to be that kind of fireside chat where it is very organic and within those conversations, there are so many meaningful things that will come out because we want the discussions to be as candid as possible.”

International Men’s Day celebration is centered on the recognition that there are a broad variety of laws, values and viewpoints around the world that affect men and boys in different countries, in different ways.

And one of the major topics to be discussed is the way men are viewed in society and now little space they are given to express themselves.

It was this core topic that drew three of the panelists: local Guyanese rapper Esan Benzy; Quacy Boyce known as DJ Avalanche and the director of Aviation and Security at Roraima Group of Companies, Captain Gerald Gouveia Jr. to join the conversation.

For each of these men, growing up, they were told to shelter their emotions and that “boys must not cry” but they all hold the same view that there needs to be a change in that mindset.

“We are in a very transitional part in our society’s history so for me, it is an interesting change….going from one extreme and into another,” commented Cpt. Gouveia Jr.

He added, “I know that there are sometimes as a guy growing up, you are very hesitant to express your emotions so it will be interesting to get a fresh perspective on how we can move away from this.”

That proverbial box, according to Esan Benzy, has sought to kill creative spirits for thousands of men and can only be corrected when society accepts that men are allowed to express themselves in whatever way they please.

Similar sentiments were also expressed by Boyce, who said “we should we should create a society where men are allowed to be comfortable and safe to express themselves in whatever way they choose.”

Interested participants can source the zoom link for the Forum on the Sonia Noel Foundation Facebook page. (Shikema Dey)

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