CAMD Leader Spotlight explores the Af-Lat-Am Mentoring Program with Miles Lincoln ’21.by Zahin Ahmed
The CAMD Leader Spotlight takes a look at what our Andover student leaders are accomplishing on campus. This month, we talked to Miles Lincoln, a senior from California, about his work with the Af-Lat-Am Mentoring Program (AMP) and working towards building a more restorative disciplinary process at Andover.
CAMD: As a student of color at Andover, what did you do to find community here? And did you find it hard when you first got here to find that community for yourself?
Miles: Like when I first got here, I think it was difficult, because I didn’t know about the spaces and kind of had to meet some new people working in them to find spaces. But like, there were a lot of people of color in leadership positions when I was here as a new lower. After I became friends with them, which was after the fall term, I started going into those spaces. Like Thaddeus, Josh Thomas, and Pablo, they were all, on various boards in CAMD. So they would encourage me and other kids to come to their meetings. And yeah, that’s when I got to integrate with those spaces. That’s how I found it. It wasn’t the easiest though.
C: So what were these specific spaces that you engaged with and are you still a part of those now?
M: The biggest two for me are Brotherhood and AMP. I think I’ve never missed a brotherhood meeting and I’m an AMP coordinator. So those are the two main spaces for me. It’s different now, it’s more difficult to have in person meetings. But I’m still like, involved with those groups.
C: Okay, awesome and what do you do in those groups?
M: So AMP is the Af-Lat-Am mentoring program. It’s a mentorship program for students of color. Every new student is paired with either an upper or a senior mentor so, they can help [them] with stuff going on with the school. There’s also a social [aspect] to it. You’re taking them downtown to restaurants, and places like that. Just serve as a mentor on campus.
Brotherhood is a place for men of color and serves as a community. A space to get together. And it’s really fun in other years, there’s a lot of food and meetings, we order Popeye’s, and Coach Brown and some other adult heads are running it.
C: That’s really cool. The last question is about this project that you’ve been working with regarding restorative justice at Andover. Could you tell me a little bit more about that? How did this get started? What the goals are for it and where are you at now?
M: It’s roots started in spring term [last year]. Bianca (’21) and I were elected to be co-presidents for West quad north and we were thinking [about a] project to work on and the thing we came up with was like data logging in the DC system because there’s just a lot of student distrust around how students are disciplined at the school and that there are disparities between different class groups. So, I started working on a system like that and we spoke with past alumni who would know more about that.
Then, the Liberation Collective started in, I think, around July. Bianca ’21 and Sophia Lee ’21 were in that and I know that that group talked about restorative justice, especially with Ms. Engel and Ms. Springer. They joined and we all kind of started working on this in different components. Data logging, restorative justice, and then rewriting the Blue Book, which ended up being what [some] task forces now are focused on. So, we just started working and we got to know each other well, and we started working over the summer on what we wanted to see happen and what we could change because we knew the current system wasn’t right. We have seen so many of our friends have poor experiences with the DC system (where it really shouldn’t be), which is really sad. Because like you live with these people and you go to school with them, and then all of a sudden, they’re just…gone. So, that’s what we wanted to change. Then word got to the deans about what we were working on. They said, “Hey, we kind of just started hearing about that, too. So would you like to partner with us to integrate those systems into our disciplinary process.”
And so we said, sure! We had one meeting with them back in the beginning of the year and they said we want to help you guys along and we’re going to also work to get towards this goal. The past couple of months, we’ve been hearing from individual deans [about] what they’ve been doing. We had this person come in from California to speak about restorative justice. They said, it’d be like a five year plan, or like, “Oh, we bought books on restorative justice.” It’s nice to know that they’re focused on it. But one of the central points of our plan was to have students involved. That’s what we really want. Especially in the development of this new system, hopefully. Yeah, that’s where we are now.
We actually have an update. In the past couple weeks, [we’ve] spoken with Mr. Barker. And he’s going to, hopefully, help us to create like a data logging system that would have very specific categories. That would be very easy to read and would grow through the years.