Mr. Florida A&M University (FAMU) wasted no time getting involved in the community by hosting the first youth men’s conference Saturday in the university’s Grand Ballroom.
Tallahassee Gentlemen’s Quarterly (TGQ), brought young men from Leon and Gadsden counties with hopes that the conference would leave long lasting impressions on their hearts and minds.
Imir Hall, this year’s Mr. FAMU, hoped that through this conference he could inspire teens during a time when African American males are under scrutiny, especially with law enforcement.
Hall passionately described the purpose of the conference.
“With so much going on in the country right now with African American men, I thought it was time for my generation to kindly take a stand,” Hall said. “I want them to know that all the guest speakers, including myself are local. They need to know I am here for them. We are all here for them.”
The conference aimed to raise the level of consciousness in attendees, which could potentially spill over into their immediate communities.
William Hudson, Vice President of Student Affairs, was Saturday’s keynote speaker.
He told the young men that their education was not just about them but also for their loved ones.
“We want to impact the lives of African American males by encouraging them to seek higher education for not themselves but their families,” Hudson said.
Speakers emphasized the significance of males attending college. They also encouraged them to be involved and give back to their community.
State Rep. Alan Williams, a guest at TGQ, spoke briefly about college’s benefits outside of the classroom.
“Be engaged in the community. It is more than making good grades and going to class. It is also the time to really find yourself and really determine what your path will be. The only way to really be great is to serve.”
Williams said, “We have a lot of young men who probably have never dreamt of going to college, right within less than a mile radius of FAMU, let alone those in the communities of Gadsden County.”
TGQ conference allowed the young men to reach outside their comfort zones and realize that there is life and hope in their communities and within themselves.