The Minority Male Leadership Association Holds First Symposium

Thu, Apr 25, 2013

The Minority Male Leadership Association (MMLA) held its first symposium Sunday. A series of interactive workshops, the symposium gave highs schools students the ability to mingle with college students and career professionals.

“It’s our first annual conference with many more to come,” creator and founder of the affinity group Clifford A. Pierre said. “The theme was connect for success. We had three interactive workshops. They put 10 to 12 people in one room from all levels. So, you had some high school students, college students, and beyond. There was a facilitator who spoke and each workshop had a different seminar.”

The attendees were taught how to connect and adjust to a professional environment.

“We taught them what the professional look is and what things would help them in going out and looking for a job, interviews for college and other things,” Pierre said. “We taught them how to tie ties. Some of the young men had never learned how to tie a tie. So we provided those for them and gave them a tie that they can take home with them. We wanted to find ways to connect with them.”

The MMLA was established March of this year. Pierre is currently attending medical school at the University of Rochester. He said he had a vision for an organization that connects and mentors minority men from high school and beyond.

“…I was founding this organization on campus targeting the needs of the minority men; African American and Latino men,” Pierre said. “This organization, not only working here on the campus, we’re trying to partner up with the community.

Pierre said they’ve been focused on the high school graduation rates based on the information found in the Schott report which is a national data survey report that was put out last year. Specifically, it focused on black male and Latino male graduation rates and then compared it with the rest of country.

“Rochester ranks the lowest in the whole country. Of all the city school districts in the country, Rochester is at the bottom in terms of graduation rates,” Pierre said. “The report states that black males will graduate in four years at nine percent of the population. Eleven percent will be Latinos and there’s a gap between them and the non-minority population.”

Pierre said the MMLA, through mentoring, can provide positive role models for young men in high school so they can see that there is life after high school and paths they can take toward education and career goals.

“We wanted to create a community where we all understand that we all needed help to get here, somebody had to help us get here. So how can we continue to help each other get through what we’re going through here on campus and as well as go back and help another. Right now, it’s open to anyone, preferably they have to be male. We’re starting from the university but it’s open to anyone, not just for students on the campus. As long as their interest aligns with our mission, we’re open.”

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