United Way’s Dual Generation Partnership recently sponsored the “Living in My Skin” Conversation and Exhibit at Young Men’s Leadership Academy. A walking tour and panel discussion of Lionel Sosa’s new project shined the light on what it’s like to be a Black man or boy in San Antonio. The exhibit features over 30 oil-on-linen portraits by Lionel of Black men, ages 10 to 90, as well as a two-part film documentary which premiered in February 2021 during Black History Month.
The event, attended by over 100 people, was held outdoors in the heart of the East Side where so much work is being done to bring people together, broaden opportunities in neighborhoods with strong histories and promising futures, and further the discussions for the advancement of race relations.
Lionel Sosa, a prolific artist with a strong voice, moderated a group of panelists, who were also some of the subjects for his portraits: Darryl Tyson Banks II, a local student; Small Business Owner Keith Simpson, Brandon A. Logan, Founder/CEO Urban Capital Partners; William Cruz Shaw, Associate Judge, State District Court, Bexar County; and Notary Public and Military Veteran Eliot Paulk.
The discussion, which ran longer than its allotted time because of thought provoking insights and questions; was rich, courageous, earnest, enlightening, and even tender as panelists shared their journeys as Black men and boys.
Eliminating barriers – such as racial injustice, paycheck inequities, and inadequate access to services — are key tenets of the Dual Generation Partnership’s work to remove obstacles and enable families to achieve greater stability and success for current and next generations. The East Side foundational work will soon be introduced to neighborhoods and families living in the West Side.
At United Way, our vision is to live in a diverse and thriving community where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. It is important to understand, include, and embrace all people — regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or station in life.
By listening with purpose and serving with action, we can advance the common good across Bexar County. For everyone.