3000+ Inspired Black Men

A New Network Community Shares Positive Stories About Black Men   
by VERGE Staff | Influence and Culture | Monday, February 24, 2014

BMe Community Photo

A national story-gathering campaign is underway to acknowledge black men and boys as assets to society. BMe Community, a high-growth, mission-driven social enterprise is leading this campaign, and has set a goal of getting thousands of people to share stories about black males they know who help others. 

Trabian Shorters, former vice president of communities for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and founder of BMe Community said in a statement to the press, “We believe that black men and boys are assets to society. So, we are asking people to share the stories about the black men they know – the coach, the pastor, the neighbor, the co-worker or the friend who inspires in an everyday kind of way.” 

Shorters believes such stories are plentiful if we stop to think about them. He quotes data from the U.S. Census, W.K. Kellogg Foundation studies and researchers such as Ivory Toldson showing that one quarter of all adult black males are military veterans; black people start businesses at a higher rate than other Americans, black Americans give 25% more of their income to charities than do white Americans, and that black males are nearly twice as likely to be in college as they are to be in prison. 

“Patriotic, enterprising and generous is far more normal than the other views of black males. If we told that truth more often, America would be stronger for it,” says Shorters. 

The Everyday Stories campaign will share remarkable facts and true stories from black leaders, influencers, millennials, change-makers and community builders as well as their friends and coworkers from all walks of life. 

Individuals of any race and gender are invited to join the conversation by sharing their own story or taking a pledge to acknowledge the good that they see black males do. 

BMe Leader Solomon Jones

BMe Community already has over 3,000 first-person testimonials from inspiring and engaged black men who do their part every day to help build better communities. Founding BMe board member and DonorsChoose.org CEO Charles Best said, “I’m involved with BMe because of its positive orientation and because the stories of these men, and men like Trabian are inspiring. It’s uplifting to share these stories.” 

Some of the people who submit stories will be eligible later this year to become “BMe Leaders” and receive $10,000 to apply towards their community-building work. There are already 70 BMe Leaders total in Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. In 2013 these men provided services to more than 65,000 neighbors on issues ranging from youth development to public health; stopping violence to helping former inmates; protecting the environment to community farming; and spurring entrepreneurship to improving financial literacy. 

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, BMe operates in Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with plans to grow nationally. BMe is backed by leading foundations; including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Heinz Endowment. 

Sharing these stories is an important step towards building more caring and prosperous communities. You can do so at www.bmecommunity.org, as well as on Facebook or Twitter. 

Photo captions: (top) BMe Leaders Collage; (lower right) 2012 BMe Leader Solomon Jones, a Philadelphia-based writer who leads the Word on the Street Literacy Program.  
Source and Photo credits: BMe Community

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