Growing Network Of Black Men Unite To Share Stories Of Success
This quote: “There are Black men out there making a difference, they are doing their part. There’s just so much negative media out there, you just don’t see these men on a regular basis.”
The John S. And James L. Knight Foundation started the Black Male Engagement Initiative two years ago. And now thousands of African American men are coming forward to tell their stories of success. BMe provides a platform for men to connect and engage with one another online and through networking events. “Regardless of what you’re seeing, there are Black men out there doing good things,” says Alex Peay. “There are Black men out there making a difference, they are doing their part. There’s just so much negative media out there, you just don’t see these men on a regular basis.”
Peay, 25, is founder and president of Rising Sons, a group that works with men age 18 to 28 to help theme gain work skills through civil engagement. He received a BMe grant last year after submitting a videotape telling the story about his life and his work. “One of my friends- Will Douglas-calls himself ‘Project X,’” says Peay. “He’s 20 years old. I’ve known him since high school and he got involved in gang violence after graduation. Out of no where he was on my porch saying he needed a place to stay.”
Peay says the friend watched Rising Sons in action and soon got motivated. “Now he’s in Pierce College studying African-American studies,” says Peay. “He’s a devout Christian now, he’s a poet now.” Through BMe thousands of men in Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore are connecting with one another and changing the dialogue about black men, says Donna Frisby-Greenwood of the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation.
“What people are saying is wow, you are changing the narrative of what we’re used to seeing,” she says. “We’re used to seeing Black men are incarcerated or Black men are dropping out of school. And now you are giving us Black men who are business owners, Black men who are non-profit leaders, coaches, community leaders, mentors- that’s not what we are used to seeing.”
“When the men come to our networking events, they are glad to meet other men who are positive like them,” she says. “It’s really cool to be able to connect men who don’t know each other across sectors.”
For more info on BMe or to hear their stories, go to bmecommunity.org.
It’s so great to see young brothers out their doing their thing and making a difference in our community.