Today the Urban League of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Public Schools held the third annual African-American Male Achievement Conference at the GRCC Ford Fieldhouse and Applied Technology Center.
More than 800 young African American men from several Kent County high schools entered the Ford Fieldhouse and were greeted with handshakes from several successful African American men who volunteered to join today’s events.
“This event today, it means a lot to our college,” said GRCC President, Bill Pink. “We have this partnership to try to kickstart effort to reach in to these young men’s lives and to speak some truth into them, to encourage them and to give them guidance.”
This year’s AAMAC theme was Challenges, Choices and Change.
During lunch at the ATC Building, the attendees were able to talk with over 100 African American male professionals about what their jobs entails and share their success stories. This experience gives students the opportunity to gain the knowledge needed to have a successful career as they eat, listen and understand what success in the workplace means.
“Our effort is to have a day in which we are pouring into and affirming our sons in the community,” said President and CEO of the Urban League and Grand Rapids Second Ward Commissioner, Joe Jones.
Throughout the day there were several speakers including Pink, Ottawa Hills High School Early/Middle College Success Coach, Brandan McBride, GRPS Dean of Student Accountability, Parris McMurray and several others to talk about their real life stories of the challenges and choices that made them the men that they are today.
One of the many speakers was Jon Covington from 97.3 FM The Beat.
In an interview with the Collegiate before the conference Covington said, “I will be talking about pain, progress and hollywood. I come from a very humble beginning and I had to figure out a way to grow and progress in life even with all of the challenges and I ended up working in the entertainment industry.”
To Covington and many of the other successful professionals, these conferences mean everything.
“There is not a more important audience than young men who look like me,” Covington said. “If there is any way I can be apart of anything that helps them grow, learn, be better, happier – then I am all for it.”