AAMEN: The New Org at Oswego You NEED To Look Out For

Male empowerment in the community is extremely important. Sometimes we believe men can do it all on their own and that they do not need any help. But in reality, everyone needs help with something in life. I recently got the opportunity to sit down and talk with a few men here on campus that are eager to address the importance of male empowerment. I asked them numerous questions about their plans and goals for the male community and this is what they wanted all of us to know about what AAMEN has in store for us.The men of African American Male Empowering Network (AAMEN). From left to right: Tyler Singleton, Emmanuel Agyapong, Chad Vanriel, Ronald Bryant, and Emanuel Henderson.

What does AAMEN stand for?

African American Males Empowering Network.

What is the goal of the group?

Ronald: To ultimately bring different races and cultures together. It is also a networking system that encourages professionalism, mannerism and the way men carry themselves overall. We want to teach people the qualities of life.

Chad: The goal is to create an effective support system. Support is a crucial aspect in any community. We want to be there to help and offer advice to males. AAMEN is there to remind men that they are not alone and help is available.

Emanuel: We strive to be an action oriented group. There isn’t a lot of male leadership on campus, so we strive to bring male leaders to campus. Men have different needs that need to be addressed and we feel like AAMEN will address those needs. Overall, we want to have a lasting effect on somebody’s life.

Tyler: The goal of the organization would be to impose thought-provoking questions that will spark a discussion in the male community. For example, conversations about what it means to be a man, how to attribute value to things in society so we can move forward, or breaking myths about gender. We want to bring cohesiveness on campus and develop an environment where everyone feels safe. AAMEN will also be an outlet for people who need mentors.

Inspiration of bringing AAMEN to Oswego?

Emmanuel: Being on campus for a year I observed men leadership dwindling. Females are the presidents in majority of the clubs, so it made me question “Where are the males in leadership roles?” This is a way to find leadership roles and to become better role models. I felt it was important to bring AAMEN on the campus to create more male leaders.

What does “empowerment Thursdays” mean to you all? What's the importance of this day?

Ronald: A day to sustain not only balance in mind, but balance in will. We view Thursday as in hope for Friday to come. Thursday is a day to reflect on the week of all that you accomplished and Friday is to celebrate your accomplishments.  

Tyler: Empowerment Thursdays should mean whatever empowerment means to that particular individual. We dress for success! It doesn't necessarily mean wearing a suit or a tie. We encourage men to wear an outfit that would fit your future career. Success doesn't have a look, it's an attained feeling.

Emmanuel: As Tyler said, it’s a day of success! Look up to Thursday as a day to do great things. It doesn’t matter what happened earlier that week, as long as you make Thursday a successful day. Every thursday say to yourself, “I'm going to do great things.” Show success in the way you dress and how you feel.

What are some changes that AAMEN can make to the community?

Tyler: One of the biggest changes we are going to make is voicing the opinion of guys on campus so we can come to a conclusion together.

Emmanuel: We want to build more leaders in the male population. We are going to ensure that  once you graduate from college, you will know how to present yourself in all settings. As for men still on campus, we want them to change into leaders here on campus and back home in their communities. Teach the youth in your community to do better and become college educated men. AAMEN will change Oswego male students into leaders.  

What are some changes AAMEN has encouraged you to make in your own life?

Chad: AAMEN influenced me to change my mindset. I was never really involved on campus but AAMEN showed me the importance of networking and gaining connections. This organization gave me encouragement to put myself more out there and made me a more confident individual.

Ronald: Being a senior and accomplishing numerous goals that I’ve set for myself over the years, AAMEN has allowed me to be accessible for other males who may need guidance. I have my own business, so AAMEN gives me opportunities to share my knowledge through personal experience.

Tyler: AAMEN allowed me to learn more about the men around me. Socially connecting and creating those connections with multiple guys outside of a competitive nature taught me the importance of an intellectual conversation. A lot of things are biased and AAMEN taught me to account everyone's opinions.

Emmanuel: It motivated me to be more accountable for my actions. Having a leadership role made me change my behavior for the better. I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure the undergraduates are doing great. My actions reflect the organization so it inspired me to change as a whole. AAMEN made me create a brotherhood.

What is the most important aspect that you want people to know about AAMEN?

Tyler: It gives people a chance to bridge gaps between gender, race relations, and other social differences. Participating in conversations that inspire people to give back to the community is what we want. We conduct programs based on differences rather than just race.

Emmanuel: Most importantly, we want to make everlasting connections, visit different places and show them the truth about college educated males. Making a difference anywhere and building within ourselves is the most important aspect of AAMEN.

Anything people should look out for from you all? Any events?

Emmanuel: Look out for our web series that we are going to have soon. We will be talking to African American professors here on campus. And remember to join us in Empowerment Thursdays!

Any social media handles that people can follow and stay up to date with you men on?

We have an Instagram, @aamenoswego!