“There is no cavalry coming to save the day in communities across America. The visionary leaders that many are waiting for are already here and a bunch of them look like the BMe winners who are contributing to the vitality and resiliency of their communities every day,” said Shawn Dove, who leads the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement.
Did you know? BMe is a growing network of black men working together to strengthen Baltimore.
Who: A group of 15 Baltimore residents including students and entrepreneurs, a pastor and a chemist are being awarded nearly $200,000 for their community projects as winners of the BMe Leadership Award.
What: BMe Leadership Award created by Black Male Engagement; is an award that recognizes and provides resources to black men doing their part to better Baltimore. You should know the facts that BMe originally launched in Detroit and Philadelphia in 2011 and now in Baltimore, the BMe community primary purpose is to help black men connect with each other, exchange ideas and receive resources to advance the positive work they do in the city.
“BMe is based on a simple truth, that there are thousands of black men who are assets to their communities – and if the rest of us got behind people like these, the city would have more to celebrate,” said Trabian Shorters, who founded BMe. “They are men from all walks of life. They help others just because they can, and because they care.”
Many events from barbershop talks to “acts of community” service have taken place in the three cities. Tallying up more than 3,000 men have shared their stories of personal commitment to improving their community, many of which can be found by clicking here. Check out a few initiatives honored with Baltimore BMe Leadership Award below:
- Empowering youth through art a nonprofit leadership major at Coppin State University, Shawn Burnett founded Walks of ART Inc.
- Stemming violence through community campaigns; Antiviolence advocate Gardnel Carter wants to help stop the violence in four Baltimore neighborhoods with Safe Streets, a public health campaign that aims to reduce shootings and homicides.
- Using tech to instill a love of math; Computer scientist Emmanuel Cephas wants to awaken the inner math genius in black youth through a new educational program that enables children to use their own body movement to solve equations
- Providing on-the-job training for youth; Entrepreneur Brian Gray co-founded the CUPs coffee shop in Southwest Baltimore, which employs and empowers, disconnected youth.
- Offering employment and training for those who can’t find jobs; Entrepreneur and former Bethlehem steelworker Edward Griffin will help more men become financially stable by employing them through his business, A Touch of Class Cleaning Service.
- Building communities through acts of service; Coppin State University student Cirron Lanier Greenidge wants to engage and inspire the next generation of Baltimore youth through acts of service.
- Helping youth tell their stories; High school student Trevor Hale and Wide Angle Youth Media will support the Mentoring Video Project, which provides Baltimore youth with media education to tell their own stories and become engaged with their communities.
- Urban farming builds job skills for returning citizens; Elder Clyde Harris will help to rebuild the lives of African American ex-offenders transitioning into the Baltimore community through Strength to Love II Urban Farm The project, located in the Sandtown-Winchester community in West Baltimore, will not only provide training and employment on a farm for returning citizens, but it will also sell produce on the commercial market.
- Pairing wrestling and science at summer camp; Chemist Lydell Henry is encouraging young black males to “Beat the Streets” through the Baltimore Wrestling STEM camp.
- Preparing the next generation of debaters; Policy advocates Adam Jackson and Dayvon Love want to change the face of debate in Baltimore by establishing a debate camp at Morgan State University.
- Supporting families with returning citizens; A former addict turned outreach worker at GROUP Ministries, Anton Pridget will develop a program to support family members as they help returning citizens adjust to reentry in their communities and in their homes.
- Changing prospects for youth at risk; Community leader Billy Stanfield, founder and executive director of New Vision Youth Services, will launch a ministry, mentoring and life skills coaching program to help change the cultural environment of youth who struggle with academic and behavioral issues.
- Using equine therapy for HIV awareness; Equestrian and activist Jean Albert Renaud will further develop Project Arrowhead, which combines equine therapy with an awareness program to educate youth about the risks of HIV infection.
- Providing hope and counseling for homeless youth; Counselor Luther Thompson will help develop a new outreach program for homeless youth at the Youth Empowered Society Drop-In Center, which opened in 2012.
When: A press release was issued on Tuesday May 14, 2013.
Where: A full list of projects is below, with more information and videos of winners available nu clicking here.
FYI: BMe is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. The Heinz Foundation is funding a variation of BMe in Pittsburgh focused on story-gathering and positive images of black males.