Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Men of Color Leadership Group

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Banquet & Rites of Passage Ceremony 2024 Held at Housatonic Community College

By John Ramos II
Assistant Principal at Bunnell High School

In October, 2022, John Ramos II, Assistant Principal at Bunnell High School, recruited eighteen male students of color for a leadership conference sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Schools. The group, Men of Color Leadership Group (MCLG), tapped an unmet need for the students chosen to participate.

MCLG welcomes all men. The group combines elements of group guidance, leadership training and community service. Its mission statement, generated by its student membership, states that “As the Men of Color Leadership Group, we want to give back to the community, inspire our youth, and give men like us a voice.”  In broad terms, MCLG promotes the social and emotional health of its male students, organizes them for volunteer opportunities, and develops their leadership capabilities.

They meet weekly, and their discussions are wide-ranging and revealing. Students are eager to volunteer their answers. They speak of the challenges they had to overcome in order to achieve the successes they had, how they had developed self-confidence, and how to deal with disrespect appropriately.

Discussed at the Men of Color Banquet & Rites of Passage Ceremony 2024 was the willingness of supporters to work with Mr. Ramos to expand the MCLG in the state – with the first goal being Stratford High School. Stratford High is working on developing an MOC. Both middle schools, Wooster and Flood, have well developed MOC Leadership Groups. 

According to Ramos, “High schools do not generally provide many avenues for students of color to discuss the unique challenges they face. Male students of color in particular, especially when they are working class or poor, face additional preconceptions and stereotypes. MCLG provides students a space in which to discuss their lived experiences and how to confront such prejudices.”  Ramos is explicit about MCLG as a safe space in which students can be open because their confidences will be respected – no matter what color.

Rites of Passage Ceremony representing transitioning into adulthood: Left to right, Connor Moran, Jake DeVitto, Bolelembe Iboki, Baeram Alfreh, and Joel Dankwah 

One of their most fervent supporters, whose generosity supports the Bunnell High School MOCL group and rites of passage ceremony, is Zeta Phi Lambda Charitable Foundation of Zeta Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Based in Stamford, they are the official mentors for the MOCL program. This year they announced two, $1000 scholarships for Baeram Alreh and Bolemembe Iboki.

John Ramos II, Baeram Alfreh presenting Acting Superintendent Heather Borges with the Leadership and Support award.

Other Awards Presented:

Community Partnership Award 

Presented to

CAS/CIAC 

Hakeem Hall  

Police Engagement Program  

Zeta Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

Village Initiative Project (VIP)

Leadership and Support Award 

Presented to:

Tammy Trojanowski 

Katilin Garcia 

Melissa Redding 

The 3 Amigas  

Victor Dawson

Inspiration Award 

Presented to

Chrismeilyn Medina Diaz 

Madison Thomas Ferguson

Candice Mack 

Promise Iboki  

Jesse Owens Awards

Presented to

Middle School (MS): Xavier Henderson

High School (HS): Bolelembe Iboki  

Duke Ellington Awards

Presented to

MS: Xavier Taylor

HS: Baeram Alfreh 

Paul Robeson Award

Presented to

MS: Micheal Vasquez

HS: DeMarko Avant 

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Awards

Presented to

MS: Josiah Reyes 

HS: Wisdom Nwaze

W.E.B DuBois Awards

Presented to

MS: Sadane Jackson

HS: Hezron Maynard  

Thurgood Marshall Awards

Presented to

MS: Rodrick Godfrey

HS: Jadan Santiago 

 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

Presented to

MS: Christian Cruz 

HS: Nathan DeLima

1 COMMENT

  1. Great report. How about a few words about the intent of each of these awards each named for a powerfully important American man?

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