The Cradle Blog

Raising Black Boys: An Ongoing Conversation

The Cradle | Our Children: An Education & Empowerment Series

The conversation has begun and it is a powerful and important one.

The Cradle’s Our Children initiative launched in February with the “Raising Black Boys” roundtable, here in Chicago. On that night, more than 200 adoptive parents and advocates for children gathered to hear a distinguished panel of Black men share their deeply personal stories about growing up in a society that is far from color-blind.

To bring the insights and information gleaned from the roundtable to the entire country, The Cradle and sponsored a webcast on May 5 with a moderated panel addressing the same challenging question: How do we raise young African American boys to become strong and confident men in a culture that can be dangerous, demeaning or damaging to them?

Hundreds of families from across the country tuned in that night to listen to our three esteemed panelists:

The Cradle | Our Children: An Education & Empowerment SeriesJonathan Thanh Danh Peck was born in Vietnam and adopted transracially in the wake of the Vietnam War. He is currently owner of Strategic Advice Services in Chicago and former President and CEO of the Tucson Urban League. Jonathan is the father of two sons.


The Cradle | Our Children: An Education & Empowerment Series

Kenard Gibbs, former CEO/Partner of Soul Train Holdings, currently serves as Vice President of Midwest Advertising Sales for BET Networks (A Viacom Company). Kenard lives in New York and is the father of a son and daughter.


The Cradle | Our Children: An Education & Empowerment Series

Kevin Hofmann is the author of Growing Up Black in White, a memoir that shares his experience growing up as a transracial adoptee. In conjunction with the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, Kevin developed a one-day course centered around transracial adoption for adoptive and foster families and child welfare professionals. He lives in Toledo with his wife and two sons.


Cradle mom Heidi Sullivan moderated. She and her husband, Elijah Harrington, adopted their son David in January 2015 and are raising a black boy in a multiracial family. She added tremendous energy and insight to the questions posed to the panelists. 

The entire webcast was so engaging and interactive that we extended the discussion beyond our typical 90 minutes in order to field more questions from the audience. Feedback from the night was phenomenal. Here are just a few of the many comments we received:

We are pursuing a adopting a 2 year old boy from Africa and starting a transracial family. This topic was exactly the type of cross cultural learning we are looking for to advance our understanding. Thank you so much! The panelists did a great job!

I really appreciate that the speakers had varied backgrounds, but they were able to put together ideas that made sense across the board. I felt like the webinar helped put a voice to situations that are not always talked about but are experienced, and also gave some practical advice.

This was outstanding. My husband and I are white. I have taught in the black community for over a decade. We are extremely intentional about our relationships/community/friendships. I could not have been more excited with the panelists sharing their insight.

And from Twitter: Watching live webinar #RaisingBlackBoys hosted by Adoption Learning Partners. Excellent. Insightful.

If you were not able to participate in the webcast you can access a recording here.

Upcoming Our Children events will include a screening of the acclaimed film Fruitvale Station as well as The Color of Education roundtable. Please visit for program updates.