African-American Male Mentoring Program travels to Chicago

The African-American Male Mentoring Program (AAMMP) is an initiative to increase retention for first-year African-American male students funded by the Vice Provost for Educational Equity at Penn State. In its first year, 11 students are enrolled in a one-credit continuing education class this semester. Four Greater Allegheny staff and faculty are mentors to the students: Roderick Asberry, Office of Admissions; Johnathan White, African and African-American studies; James Pritchett, Center for Academic and Career Excellence; and Tony Mitchell, Continuing Education. These mentors meet once a week with this class to engage and support their successful adjustment to college and journey toward a college degree.

The AAMMP students and mentors attended the "We Count: The Black Agenda is the American Agenda!" conference at Chicago State University in Chicago on Saturday, March 20. Organized by the award-winning PBS journalist Tavis Smiley and rebroadcast on C-Span, "We Count" provided a select group of African-American scholars, activists and leaders a unique forum to discuss pressing national issues facing African-Americans and the nation. Jesse Jackson, Cornell West, Julianne Malveaux, Michael Eric Dyson, and Ron Walters were among the panelists. Several speakers, notably Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C., highlighted Census 2010 as an important occasion for African-Americans. Citing national economic reports and college graduation rates, she challenged everyone in attendance to complete the census as a means to ensure that federal tax dollars for initiatives such as college grants and loan programs will be available to families and communities across the United States that need them the most.

?After attending the morning conference, the AAMMP students and mentors toured the DuSable Museum of African-American History, also in Chicago, and the opening of the 'Freedom Sisters: Honoring the Legacy of African American Women' exhibit,? said Mitchell. ?The group stayed overnight in Chicago, then enthusiastically returned to Greater Allegheny, ready to be counted in the American agenda.?