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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ambitious Men Engaged In Necessary Dialogue


AMEND planning committee and Liliana Mickle

“The only way we can change for the better is through difficult conversations about ourselves, and addressing painful realities that we have been avoiding,” said Manuel Monteiro, Success Boston Initiative peer mentor and founder of Ambitious Men Engaged in Necessary Dialogue (AMEND).

AMEND is a group of young men at University of Massachusetts Boston whose goals are: building a brotherhood through sharing common struggles, giving back to the community where they come from, and completing their educational college degree.

AMEND is one of the services provided to the university community through the Success Boston Initiative. It was established in October 2012 and has hosted six meetings. Some of the conversation topics included Perceptions of a Woman, Define Your Struggle, Swag, and Manhood, Masculinity, or Simply Misconcepts.

Monteiro says he has invited staff and faculty to the AMEND’s group, to come in, to sit in the conversation, and share their perception about the struggles and stereotypes that young men have been facing.

Professor Anthony Van Der Meer, a senior faculty at UMass Boston’s Africana Studies Department, describes the young men group discussion as “qualitative development.” As he said it, “ I am impressed that young men get together to discuss real issues and share their ultimate concerns.”

“This group is  part of the effort to increase involments of the young men on campus,” mentioned Liliana Mickle, the coordinator of Success Boston Initiative at UMass Boston. She believes that their involement in these dialogue is a way to break down barrriers; to make them more consciously aware of their manhood. And more importantly to increase their graduation

The purpose of each discussion is to provide a safe space where young men can share their deep thoughts, be vulnerable, and understand the different stereotypes that can hold them back from living truthfully. “Because of the stereotypes that are placed on them, men feel that they cannot show their fear or share their insecurities for they are going to be judged” observed Monteiro.

“We took the word masculine and broke it down into three parts mask-u-and line,”said Monteiro. “Young men are stuck between a mask that they wear and a line that they cannot cross,” he added. Meaning once they cross that line (do certain things and express certain feelings) their manhood and their masculinity are threatened, and once that happens, young men are often called names.

AMEND creates a friendly atmosphere for learning and triggers conscious awareness. “It provides a unique opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among one’s peers,” said Monteiro. He explained that everyone’s voice matters, and because they are authentic and genuine with themselves and each other, this makes their monthly gathering powerful. “We are breaking bread and building brotherhood,” he added.
Along the way, Monteiro reiterated AMEND’s ambition of giving back to the community (Boston Public Schools) where they came from by serving as mentors and taking these conversations they are having right back to the younger men in local high schools. Success Boston Initiative has connected with Upward Bound , a pre-collegiate program at the university, to help AMEND establish these dialogues at Boston Public Schools. “AMEND means change for the better and once someone changes this person should try to change his community for the better as well,” Monteiro concluded.