African American males are frequently portrayed as troublesome thugs; however, four African American male graduate assistants from the Longhorn Center of Academic Excellence (LCAE) disproved this stereotype. On October 26th at the Grand Commission on Young African American Males at Sigma Pi Phi’s Southeast Regional Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, these young men discussed their desire and passion for academics. They explained how mentoring and personal motivation have impacted their level of academic attainment. The graduate students also addressed overcoming challenges and rising above the standards society has set for them, while lifting younger African American males through mentoring and tutoring. The session reiterated the importance of Black males empowering each other and recognizing the significance of their cultural identity. Society stigmatizes Black males, but they can rise above the stigmatism by understanding the power of their cultural heritage .
During this 2-hour session, the young men interacted with some of the most prominent African American men in the country. These renowned figures inspired, encouraged, and even challenged the graduate assistants. The graduate students found great value in being able to glean from the professional men. It is evident that without guidance Black males are oftentimes reinventing the wheel; the doctors, attorneys, and educators have established themselves and created legacies that can assist young Black males in achieving their goals. The young gentlemen were excited to attend the Grand Commission and look forward to mentoring more males and building on the success they have already experienced.