Name: Alphonso Amos
Profession: City of Port Huron Council member, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Diversity and Inclusion Program coordinator, Impact Youth Services executive director
One Word That Describes You: Resilient
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am humbled to be recognized as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction; it as an honor and a privilege. I don’t serve for awards or recognition, but when the opportunity comes to be recognized for doing what I am called to do, it brings me joy and is such a great honor.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I have many examples of struggles. [From being] born into poverty to a single mother and escaping the everyday world of drugs and violence in the ghetto, to almost losing my life to a bullet, which is lodged a half an inch away from my aorta artery and is a daily reminder of the many struggles I have had. With many life changing events, I have been resilient and refused to give up on life. I turned my struggles into a story. For me, changing the narrative of my life became a part of building the success people currently see. After being shot by a stray bullet and the media portraying me as a gang member while I was just a college student out having fun, I realized the many stereotypes people place on black men. That day, I decided to never fit into any stereotype. I decided to move forward in life, stepping out on faith and striving to achieve all of my goals and dreams using God as my guide.
I wanted to use a situation that many thought was bad to make a greater impact. I went from your everyday normal college student, to being a victim of crime, to impacting the lives of thousands of students. When you say you have been shot, kids think you’re cool, so I used that to empower youth to make wise decisions. And while I empowered them, they helped encourage me to be the example they strongly needed in my community.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
An important quality I look for in my relationship with others is a servant’s heart. I like to surround myself with people that have a heart and life that is focused on serving other people.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently working on the African American Initiative for Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. The initiative was launched to promote girls scouting in African American communities as we strive to increase girls’ involvement in STEM, strengthen their financial literacy, and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, we encourage healthy living opportunities for girls of color by increasing access to outdoor activities. We also prevent bullying and relational aggression by promoting healthy relationships while engaging communities on the importance of programs for girls of color. I get to wake up every day and work on the greatest project anyone could work on; and that’s making sure we don’t leave girls of color out of the conversation as we build programs, fund initiatives, and push policies.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was simply, “Never give up.” Those three words were my grandmother’s favorite words, and although she passed away while I was a freshman in high school, I can still here her saying with every challenge I come up against, “Never give up.”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Oftentimes, people want to make a difference, but they don’t know where to start. I want to challenge all those who want to make a difference to start with themselves. Mahatma Gandhi has a famous quote that simply says, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Change starts with us. Nothing will change if we don’t begin to be the change we wish to see.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
A lot of my preparation is spent in prayer. I know it may seem cliché, but when I am preparing for a meeting I seek wisdom from God. I also prepare for meetings by speaking positive words of affirmation to myself. I have a mirror that I write empowering words on such as, “I am a man of integrity,” “I am great,” “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength,” and much more, which helps me gain the confidence needed when attending meetings.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
An ideal vacation for me is laying on the beach and getting lost in a book or writing—I enjoy writing poetry. The best vacation I had was one in Long Beach, California, when I was challenged by a group of educators to write about my life problems. On this particular vacation, I was able to relax and write, which brought me much needed peace.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could travel and stay anywhere in the world, I would go to Nigeria. I’ve always wanted to visit Nigeria, because I have always wanted to visit the Institute of African Studies in Ibadan and see the astonishing pre-historic bronze carvings they feature.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”
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