African American Male Initiative program continues at Sinclair

The African American Male Initiative program at Sinclair Community College continues to thrive, despite the hardships of the pandemic.

The program originally started under the guidance of Michael Carter, the senior advisor to the president and chief diversity officer at Sinclair. For nearly five years, the program has guided young African American men in academic achievement and leadership development.

In the midst of COVID-19, the program has continued running, by propelling students forward, and keeping the community close-knit, said Marc DeWitt, one of the coordinators of the AAMI program, who has helped to keep the program running in the midst of troubled times.

“We’re not knowing what’s next, we’re not knowing if we’ll have any sense of a return to normalcy,” DeWitt said. “In the initiative we’ve seen some lessening in participation, but we have a core group that is pushing on. For the students we’re still running numbers, running meetings, making sure those services are there, incentivized participation, providing whatever experience we can, just to make sure they have support.”

“Something we heard long ago when we started this is that students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” DeWitt said. “So the fact that we’re reachable and accessible through all of this, should hopefully show students that ‘They’re here, they care for us, okay, let’s get it done.’”

Joshua Moore is a Business Management & Entrepreneurship major with a minor in public speaking who will be graduating this year. He hasn’t had the easiest life journey, but is incredibly grateful for the AAMI program for guiding him through his college experience.

“In the African American male community, we suffer mass incarceration. I’m a returning citizen myself, and not too many [people] bridge the gap to make it back and do well,” Moore said. “Without that help and support, I don’t know if I’d have achieved the level that I’ve achieved.

“I’m currently the group president. I have a voice, and I want to reach them [young men],” Moore said. “I was once that person, and I know what it’s gonna take for them to listen.”

The group’s mission hasn’t changed.

“The hopes and the goals we have, they haven’t changed,” DeWitt said. “Momentum got a little wary, but I think that we’re still one of the best representatives of the best options for furthering your education in the area. It might not all be the classic American dream, but it’s a road, it’s got some bumps and roadblocks, some muddy waters to swim through, but if you prioritize your education, there are possibilities.”

Moore said, “I really believe in the system and the program, it’s saving lives and salvaging dreams, and that’s what it’s all about.”

For more information about the program, visit https://www.sinclair.edu/services/support/aami/ .