AAME Summit brings people together at Southeastern


Chloe Williams

Dr. John Hatcher speaks to audience members during the open discussion part of the summit. The AAME summit occurred on Friday, July 23 and Saturday July 24.

On Friday, July 23 and Saturday 24, an African American Male Empowerment Summit was held in the Southeastern Student Union Ballroom.

With the title “Twenty-one years into the 21st Century: Where are we now, and how do we pursue greater equity in key life indicators?” the summit focused on discussing the challenges of key quality of life indicators experienced by African American male students according to Dr. John Hatcher. Hatcher, an assistant professor in the College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology at Southeastern, was the organizer of this event.

When going into detail about the message of this summit Hatcher said, “We must further discover viable solutions to these challenges and initiate real change that will improve the current trajectory of many African American males in regards to educational attainment, economic justice, and social equity.” 

On Friday, the summit lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where a majority of the guest speakers had their discussions and presentations on new ideas for African American men to keep in mind when navigating modern-day education. 

Presented by the College of Education, the Department of Educational Leadership & Technology, and the Sons of Promise and Daughters of Destiny Organization, the two-day event was intended to discuss relevant challenges, discover viable solutions, and initiate real change for African American males. The major sponsor of the event was Walmart, which was hiring for jobs starting at $20 an hour. The Louisiana National Guard was also on-site to give COVID shots. 

Some of the speakers included educators from the surrounding area in Tangipahoa along with law enforcement officials, religious representatives and staff from the Counseling Center on campus. 

One speaker on the first day was an LSU sophomore mechanical engineering major named Aaron Marshall. Marshall was a part of the panel on Friday where he discussed his experience as a black male at college. 

“I’m a firm believer that college campuses should be a space where like-minded people can spread ideas. Implementing the ideas of this means that colleges need to create spaces where black males can meet while also being able to connect with faculty and staff,” Marshall stated when talking about the importance of these types of events on campus.  

Aaron Marshall receives an award from Dr. John Hatcher on Friday, July 23. Marshall was a guest speaker who talked about his experience as a black male at college. Submitted by Maureen Lundergan

On Saturday, the event lasted from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and had two guest speakers. 

Hatcher mentioned during the open discussion portion of the summit that Friday was the “what” and “so, what” part of the conversation and understanding the issues and challenges. Saturday was devoted to the “now what” discussion on how people can take action on these issues. 

The guest speakers Saturday were Terran Perry who is a representative from the NAACP and Michael Victorian, the Regional Representative of the 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge. 

Perry talked about the NAACP and how they are here to help out others and speak out for issues African Americans face. His speech led to the open discussion part of the summit where people who were listening could express their ideas and concerns. 

Perry ended his presentation by saying, “The NAACP is always here for you.”

Victorian held a presentation on the 100 Black Men of America Inc. and how people can get involved with this organization. There are currently 100 chapters worldwide of the group and Victorian hopes that it can keep growing, even in the community of Hammond. 

Guest speaker Michael Victorian gives a presentation on the 100 Black Men of America Inc. and what their mission is. Victorian’s presentation was the last of the summit on Saturday. (Chloe Williams)

Marcela Spicuzza, a counselor from the University Counseling Center and speaker on Friday, said that Victorian’s presentation stuck out to her. 

“It was great to learn not only about his personal experiences in being a mentor to young Black men, but what resources there are for this community,” Spicuzza added. 

For the future, Hatcher hopes to host a second AAME Summit as well as spread the 100 Black Men of America to Hammond. 

“We are planning to make this an annual event with supporting action and activities throughout the year and across the Southeast region of Louisiana,” Hatcher mentioned. 

At the end of Saturday, Hatcher mentioned that if anyone on campus is interested in having this conversation of bringing the 100 Black Men of America organization to the local community that they can email him and include five others who would also be interested and able to participate.

Hatcher’s email can be found as [email protected] and Southeastern’s chapter of the NAACP can be found on their website.

Participants of the AAME summit mingle during a break in the summit. The AAME summit was held in the Student Union Ballroom. (Chloe Williams)