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Center for African American Male hopes banquet will expand image

From left, Center for the African American Male Director Antonio Leroy stands with mentor LeRoy Davis; Alex Perryman, student president; Andre Joseph, sergeant-at-arms; Peter Reece, student parliamentarian, and Student Vice President Justin Holden. The organization's work is well known on the Albany State University campus and now officials with the group hope to give it broader community exposure.

From left, Center for the African American Male Director Antonio Leroy stands with mentor LeRoy Davis; Alex Perryman, student president; Andre Joseph, sergeant-at-arms; Peter Reece, student parliamentarian, and Student Vice President Justin Holden. The organization's work is well known on the Albany State University campus and now officials with the group hope to give it broader community exposure.

ALBANY -- Antonio Leroy is a dreamer, and he's never been afraid to dream big.

When he returned home to Albany in 1996 after his dream of professional football glory ended ("I tell folks they say NFL stands for 'National Football League,' but in my world it means 'not for me,'" Leroy jokes.), he was invited to be take part in a study of the African-American male being conducted on the campus of his alma mater, Albany State University.

From that research, and the leadership of former ASU President Billy Black, sprung the on-campus Center for the African American Male, whose mission is to help students discover their identities by allowing them to achieve their full potential as scholars and to assume leadership roles in their chosen communities upon graduation.

"At CAAM, we have a four-tier approach to reaching young males on our campus," said Leroy, who has been with the Center for the African American Male for 17 years. "We reach out to incoming students on our campus; we have a 'T-shirt of Colors' event in which we invite all fifth-grade boys in Dougherty County -- black, white, rich, poor -- and let them enjoy all they can eat and attend an ASU football game; we have a Winter Youth summit in which sixth-graders from throughout our 24-county service area are invited to our campus, and we host a National Males Conference involving other colleges and high schools."

The idea behind CAAM's involvement with youngsters, Leroy says, is to imprint upon them positive leadership at an impressionable age.

"We seek to bring out the potential in these youngsters," he said. "We encourage them to be leaders on and off campus."

The center is looking to expand its reach beyond the confines of the Albany State campus with a Black Tie Male Scholarship Banquet April 12 at ASU's new Student Center Ballroom. The 7 p.m. banquet will allow the community to join CAAM in raising funds to provide academic scholarships to area students.

"We hope to award 40 scholarships to deserving students within our service area," Leroy said. "I'm announcing this now, during the Christmas season, reaching out to the community during this season of giving. We receive Title III grant money to help fund our program, but we have no other major funding source.

"I'm looking for a strong buy-in from our local partners, from Phoebe (Putney Memorial Hospital) from Procter & Gamble from the Marine Corps Logistics Base from the Chamber of Commerce from the faith-based community. All of them -- our entire community -- will benefit from the impact CAAM has on young people."

Four Albany State students who readily proclaim the positive impact CAAM has had on their lives -- Camden County sophomore Andre Joseph, Atlanta sophomore Peter Reece, Cuthbert senior Alex Perryman and Lawrenceville senior Justin Hollen -- personify the traits Leroy says the organization helps build.

"I've been involved with CAAM since my freshman year, and through that involvement I've been the beneficiary of strong leadership and excellent role models," Perryman, a biology major who is the student president of the organization, said. "From that, I've become a leader myself, and I've grown as a person."

Joseph, whose major is business information systems, said involvement in CAAM builds character.

"What you learn, essentially, is how to be a man, how to be a better man," he said. "You improve yourself, and from that you help improve the people around you."

Albany State Athletic Director Richard Williams, who is a Center for the African American Male board member, said the organization allows its young members to achieve heights they might not have imagined.

"At Albany State, we take the individuals where they are and propel them to new heights in their lives," Williams said. "CAAM provides an opportunity to mold them as mentors, to teach them how to tutor and show others how they can reach their potential."

Leroy Davis, a 1990s basketball star at Westover High School who signed a scholarship at Auburn University before embarking on a career as a musical engineer, returned home to Albany to be closer to his family and to complete requirements for a doctoral degree in Sociology. A non-traditional student, Davis ran into Leroy during registration at ASU and was quickly sold on getting involved with CAAM as a mentor.

"When Antonio told me about the program, my getting involved was a no-brainer," Davis said. "My experiences have allowed me to involve some of these young men in the program in incredible male dialogues. These talks among men are character builders, and they help make better-prepared young men."

Tickets for the Black Tie Scholarship Banquet are $125 a person, and sponsorship packages ranging from $1,001 to $5,000-plus are available. Persons seeking more information may contact Leroy or CAAM coordinator/administrative assistant Malisha Mishoe at (229) 430-3635, (229) 430-1821 or (229) 894-5031.

"By supporting our banquet, the community will be supporting young people who are vital to the future of our region and our country," Leroy said. "There is no better investment."

Comments

rightasrain 1 year, 11 months ago

Obviously, discriminatory; but hey, that's Albany. If Whites were to "found" a Center for White American Males, the infamous Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton would be down here leading the lynching party.

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waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

I for one cannot help but wonder what would be said about a Center for White Americans Males at te University of Georgia, and why those type comments directed at this group would immediately be shouted down as Racist. How can a Public University allow such a group to exist on it's Campus, providing it funding and meeting space? Sorry, I have seen it too often where such groups representing Whites have been condemed.

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RedEric 1 year, 11 months ago

Why is it groups now want someone to fund their activities or projects? Go out and earn the money. This group obviously wants more than bake sales or car washes can generate, so get creative. How are you going to teach a boy to be a man when you show him that funding comes from someone else? Wouldn't it be better to teach him to EARN it? Why teach anyone that they can walk around with their hand out and expect it to be filled? This is disgusting and should be ended.

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dingleberry 1 year, 11 months ago

My goodness, Red, you just don't seem to get it. The old ways you were taught don't work in today's "gimmie" society. Remember, the role of higher education these days is to teach young folks where money comes from and. drumroll pls, it is you, me, Walt, and other such blokes! Money isn't to be earned, it is to be printed or taken from one's stash! :)

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agirl_25 1 year, 11 months ago

Interesting....when is a Center for European American Males going to be opened? I thought this topic about African Americans was discussed before....are these fellows all born in Africa and are they true African Americans? I kind of thought a real African American was one who had actual ties to Africa, and by that I don't mean they watched Roots. I mean something substantial, let's ask... was one of them born there?... like oh, I don't know..... like the lead singer for the Dave Matthews Band. He is a REAL African-American and white but was born in Africa.....go figure.....doh...I am kind of tired of this African-American label....they are no more African-American than I am Queen Elizabeth just because I visited Buckingham Palace.....get over it. I will be waiting to see when the Center for European American Males is going to open tho and am anxious to see what kind of banquet you will have and what type activites you have planned for us. This is going to be such an exciting time for our European American Males I know.....as far as Jesse goes, I think he will be too busy up in Chicago trying to keep his son out of prison, now that he has resigned from his seat and is probably worried about being fitted for his new wardrobe, that of prison stripes.....awwwww..poor boy....only the slick lizard Al will probably be available to come down and help with the protest..sigh sigh sigh..

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hotdog 1 year, 11 months ago

You and other imbeciles like you with your slick comments....Oh and by the way I love how your wicked clandestine efforts to be coy is nothing more than bumpkin buffoonery... There is a need for a CAAM, thee are more black men incarcerated today than were enslaved in 1850....Now there are people who are trying to legitimately deal with the issue and you take issue with that. If you want to have a center for white males then open one and shut up.....You complain about freebies and entitlements and when people try to do something that may actually decrease the things mitch and boan about and you compain....typical synical stupid comment

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agirl_25 1 year, 11 months ago

Apparently you never got the opportunity to be in CAAM and be tutored and reach your full potential. I suggest you cool down and take a deep breath and go back and read what you wrote and check your mistakes and see why you have set a poor example for black people in general. Are you an ASU graduate? If there is a need for CAAM, then good, but what happens if someone does form a group for European American Males....then what? Do we hear folks screaming and yelling "bigotry"? Of couse we do and we know who the leaders of the pack will be. And by the way, boy, if you can spell clandestine, I am surprised you can't spell something as simple as "there", "bitch", "moan", "complain" and "cynical".....tsk tsk tsk...I bet your Mama would be ashamed of you....but then again, maybe 'mitch' and 'boan' are friends from 'da hood'....you never know now, do you......

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hotdog 1 year, 11 months ago

Mitch and boan was intentional....reverse the m and b......trying no to curse...

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Number One Goal should be "No more bastard children". Keep it zipped up until your wedding night and then keep it between the two of you, man and wife. Number One Goal. That one single factor would do more to lift African Americans across this country, particularly females, out of poverty and into the American Dream Stream.

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ASUALUM 1 year, 11 months ago

Actually, for those who seem to be misinformed or just chose to not accept the objective of this program... this program not only help cultivate the minds of young African American men, but in some instances, those men who are in leadership positions within this organization are many times the only positive MALE role model that some of these young men have been around. Similiar to what Sister_Ruby stated, there is an increase in single parent homes, especially in this area. Many of these young men are being raised by grandma, mama, auntie, godmother without the present of a POSTIVE MALE role model. So I applaud these young men for, first making the decision to advance there education and secondly taking advantage of the resources being offered so they can become better MEN!

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

Center for White American Males

Also known as CWAM

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Well, many generations ago there was a Center for Irish American Males it is now referred to as AA.

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

People, who have been historically persecuted, won't forget their history and they shouldn't. American shouldn't forget what the British did to them under colonial rule. Blacks won't forget that they were enslaved based on skin color alone. Women won't forget that they were denied the right to vote. Face up to your history, seek understanding, and let's find common ground. There is nothing wrong with CAAM and their efforts in empowering black males. We should appreciate their efforts and stop showing bitterness.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

My smart alec comment above does not reflect my genuine feeling that the organization is a worthy and needed entity most especially in our community. I would encourage the group to consider sponsoring a Boy Scout Troop which is critically needed for young adolescents. There are excellent resources for activities and learning programs within the scouting movement. I personally appreciate what you are doing and intend to buy tickets to the event. Thank you for listing the number to contact.

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VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

I can't believe myself, I actually agree with Hot Dog. I know we've had our run ins in the past, but I agree with his comments and I support this program. Like Hot Dog said we moan and groan about these unwed mothers and no positive male role models or dads in the lives of these young families, but when someone is trying to do something positive we moan and groan about that as well. Will no one ever be satisfied?

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LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

Positive role models in the black community have a tendency to be sports related. A lot of kids think the only way out of the ghetto is to play basketball or football and get a scholarship to college, then get a contract with the pros. The mentors mentioned here seem to have followed that path themselves. This is similar to the idea that the only way to obtain wealth is to win the lottery. Children in our community regardless of skin color need all the help they can get and CAAM would seem to be attempting something good. I’m skeptical of their effort to maintain an enduring sense of racial disenfranchisement by claiming African heritage and their seemingly single minded focus on sports. If this agenda actually worked black America wouldn’t be in the situation it is in. You look at the faces of the four young men in the photo and yes, there is promise here. They want to do well in life and they are doing well at ASU. But I don’t see any mention of faith in anything other than the self or any moral instruction. There is nothing that points to anything other than the “get rich or die trying” sentiment. A mentor with a musical engineering background? Now CAAM has it all. Football, basketball and rap hip/hop. I guess that’s better than counting on winning the lottery. CAAM has been around since 1988 at ASU. Its primary focus is attempting to reduce the drop-out rate for black male freshmen so the statistic doesn’t sully their affirmative action admissions policy. Everything else is window dressing

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Ihope4albany 1 year, 9 months ago

It is amazing that we don't see these kind of comments when Albany, GA has so many other fundraisers, marathons, etc. to raise money for causes. Moreover, when fundraisers are generated for scholarships at other universities and colleges, it is the order of the day. Yet, when ASU does it to support a state initiative - Check the University System of Georgia's Initiative for the Black Male (http://www.usg.edu/aami/), then there is a problem.

When will the dominant group realize that because the marginalized group has to work extra hard to overcome the domination, honoring their cultural heritage is one of the ways of doing that?

May you experience humanity at its best one day without the bondage of the racial divide caused by Europeans exploiting and oppressing the world's people of color.

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