By R. Preston Clark
Contributing Writer

The African-American Male Intergenerational Conference may focus its attention on the relationship between young black men and their elders, but when it came time to fundraise for their annual conference, all ages and genders came out in support.

On Saturday night, lanes were filled with supporters of the conference as the AAMIC hosted a fundraiser at Brunswick Premier Lanes in Chula Vista. It turned into a combination of competitive spirit, mini-reunion and food consumption as strangers became friends and friends furthered their relationships while attempting to eclipse the triple digit mark on the scoreboard in their respective lanes.

“I think it was a good turnout,” said AAMIC Chairman, Lemar Slater. “We had over 25 lanes with people bowling. A lot of people came out and had a good time interacting and just sharing in some good, clean, social fun.”

IMG_0251 copyPeople from various walks of life participated, including members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc as well as alums from Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Morehouse College, Bennett College, Howard University and Hampton University. It was a positive gathering in support of a conference that will be headed into its eighth year of existence.

“This year what we are trying to do is partner up with more organizations to honor Men’s Health Awareness Month in June,” said Kenya L. Taylor, conference planning chair and co-chairman of the AAMIC. “It’s a free conference. The reason why we had the bowling event is to have proceeds so we can maintain a free conference for the community.”

The AAMIC – which will be held on June 13-14 at the Educational Cultural Complex – came about due to a need for more in-depth conversation between young and old.

“[We] saw a need for young African-American males as well as older to interact with one another,” Slater said, “to have an intergenerational dialogue and that way we could have that in the context of solution finding workshops so we could educate them on the perils that African-Americans face out here in the world today.”

What those in attendance on Saturday faced was a group of people looking to have some fun while supporting a worthy cause. All through the lanes laughter could be heard, food was being eaten and competitive juices were flowing as people got to know the individuals assigned to their lanes. It was a time to fellowship with people, make connections and understand further why the AAMIC deserves support for what it is looking to accomplish.

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“This is the only fundraiser we have of this nature, however, we do accept donations for the event and we’re also looking for more collaborations with the churches, with individuals, as well as the various organizations, whether non-profit or corporations,” Taylor said. “We want to increase the health and wellness, as well as the acknowledgement of intergenerational issues in our community. And we’re always looking for more organizations to partner with.”

Working towards their eighth conference, the AAMIC is looking to continue its legacy of providing an avenue of discussion between generations. It’s an important conversation that needs to continue to happen and supporters coming out to play a couple games of bowling, eat, fellowship and have a good time will help in providing the AAMIC with the support it needs to continue to have this dialogue.

“I think the beautiful part about what we’ve been able to do is to generally connect people from different parts of life that might not normally congregate in the same circles,” Slater said. “So you see youngsters that are coming out of high school being recognized with book grants on the same stage as people that have been active in the community for 40, 50-plus years being recognized for their unsung work that they’ve done in the community.”

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At the end of the day, the AAMIC wants to continue to provide a locale for different walks of life to engage one another under the foundational umbrella that has kept the African-American community going strong for generations. With opportunities to work with other organizations as well as fundraising events such as the one held on Saturday, the AAMIC will be able to continue their journey towards intergenerational awareness.

“Really coming together under a foundation of faith, education, health awareness and these positive landmark issues in our community,” Slater said. “They need to be addressed from both sides of the spectrum, our young as well as our seniors. There’s a great synergy that comes from everybody working together.”

RETRACTION: Original publication of the paper showed Steve Peterson as the photographer of the event.  The actual photography was done by African-American Male Intergenerational Conference.

Photos courtesy of the African-American Male Intergenerational Conference (AAMIC):