Men About Progress supports students
By Jacob Zokvic
Men About Progress (MAP) is an initiative established by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at LCC to increase, encourage and support the inclusion and educational success of male students of color.
The group meets every Tuesday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Cesar Chavez Learning Center (CCLC), as well as on the WebEx room for the CCLC, which is always open to everyone.
Meetings include discussions about a weekly topic and frequently feature a guest speaker. Members also seek tutoring and educational support at meetings.
The four main components the organization focuses on are brotherhood, achievement, community service and leadership
Diversity Program Coordinator Jonathan Rosewood described the purpose of the group.
“We just knew we had to have a space for students who self-identify as men, because you can’t be vulnerable all the time,” Rosewood said. “You don’t always have someone in college to be able to go to and (members of the group) actually know what you are going through.”
The group focuses on issues related to being an African American, but everyone is encouraged to join. There are several members who are not men of color.
“This organization is open to all, not just men – he, she, they – whoever wants to come in to get the knowledge, they are more than welcome to,” Rosewood said.
MAP is organized by faculty, but much of the leadership within the group is done by students as part of a group called Brother to Brother (B2B). Members of faculty also act as mentors to the group.
Ronald Carter, a member of B2B, explained how he sees the organization.
“We are a support system,” Carter said. “We all go out and have the struggles of life, but we all come here to actually get advice, there’s a lot of good in that. We come to get positive energy from other people, hear about other people’s stories (and) relate to other people.
“That’s what I feel Brother to Brother and Men About Progress is about; teaching us to be better men through self-improvement. That’s always what I’ve loved.”
Jacob Fikes, a student in MAP, said he enjoys the experience the group has given him.
“A lot of brothers are actually here for one another. It’s a support group,” Fikes said. “I appreciate everything we do for one another. It’s like another family, someone you can turn to for anything. It’s amazing.”
Olyver Williams, another student in the group, said he is happy having someone to talk with.
“It’s dope seeing people your age open up about real-life situations and stuff that’s actually going on today,” Williams said.
Willie Davis, who has been a sociology and education instructor at LCC for 40 years, serves as a mentor within the group.
“It feels great to be part of the support group and its great that we’ve got a lot of others at LCC that fill a part of it,” Davis said. “It’s important to have faculty and staff support as well, trying to make the overall picture of how do you come out better than when you came in.”