A²MEND got its start at the annual professional development conference for new administrators, appropriately titled Administration 101, hosted by the Association of California Community College Administrators. In the summer of 2006, six young (5 of the 6 were under the age of 35), emerging African American male administrators attended the Administration 101 conference at the University of California Los Angeles. Upon their arrival, six attendees, whom had never met and did not have any prior knowledge of each other’s attendance, quickly realized that their meeting was not just coincidence, but that divine intervention had brought them together for a purpose larger than themselves and their respective positions in college administration.
At the conference there was a dialogue about the difficulties facing African American males in general and in higher education specifically. During this conversation, they realized that very few people were specifically addressing these issues facing African American males. It seemed that this was an issue that was overdue for action. That’s when they asked themselves, if we don’t do something about it, then who will? And if we don’t do something about it now, will anyone ever do something about it? Those two questions made this group of administrators and, most importantly, African American men, realize that if change was going to occur that they were going to be the ones to do it.Within 3 months of that first meeting, they had built the foundation for what would become A²MEND. Initially, they decided to get together as a support group that would allow each member to address the unique experiences they were facing as young African American Male Administrators. However, when the group held its second meeting, the members realized that the potential of A²MEND was much larger than simply to act as support group for those who were in the room. It was decided at the second meeting to invite other African American male administrators in the state join the effort and to begin creating the framework that would allow the A²MEND organization to move towards their ultimate goal: to improve the educational and professional outlook of African American males in higher education in general and community colleges specifically.Today, A²MEND is working with colleges throughout the country to provide an affirming academic and professional environment for African Americans with a particular focus on African American male students, faculty, staff, and administrators.