GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time since the pandemic, young Black men from across Kent County came together in person for a conference where they got to hear from leaders in the community who look like them.

The African American Male Achievement Conference is in its 8th year. It invites students from across Kent County to Grand Rapids Community College to talk about challenges, choice and change.

The event has been virtual for the last couple years, but Wednesday they got to come back together again.

“Being in a place as an African American male inside the educational system, there’s not a lot of us that exist,” said Emmanuel Armstrong III, event organizer and Guidance Counseling Supervisor at Grand Rapids Public Schools. “We have about 300 men that represent so many different pathways. So, you’ll see gentlemen who are serving as neurosurgeons, and even some of our fathers who have been incarcerated, we all have a story to tell. And on today we are loud, and we get a chance to tell our story to the next generation.”