BMe is a growing network of black men working together to strengthen Baltimore
Baltimore— A group of 15 Baltimore residents – including students and entrepreneurs, a pastor and a chemist – are being awarded nearly $200,000 this week for their community projects as winners of the BMe Leadership Award.
Created by BMe, a growing network of black men committed to making their communities stronger, the award recognizes and provides resources to black men doing their part to better Baltimore.
Funding will help a variety of people and neighborhoods across the city, and will provide job training for disconnected youth at a local coffee shop, prepare the next generation of debate team champions and help ex-offenders adjust to life outside prison with jobs at an urban farm. A high school student who at one point was homeless also applied and received funding for a media project for local youth.
To forward BMe’s community-building mission, priority was given to projects that involved people and organizations working together to deepen their impact.
This year’s winners are 15 extraordinary men who are working to improve Baltimore. They are: Shawn Burnett; Gardnel Carter; Emmanuel Cephas; Brian Gray; Edward Griffin; Cirron Lanier Greenidge; Trevor Hale; Elder Clyde Harris; Lydell Henry; Jackson and Dayvon Love; Anton Pridget; Billy Stanfield; Jean Albert Renaud and Luther Thompson.
“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.”
Launched in Detroit and Philadelphia in 2011 and now in Baltimore, the BMe community helps black men connect with each other, exchange ideas and receive resources to advance the positive work they do in the city. Numerous events – from barbershop talks to “acts of community” service – have taken place in the three cities. In addition, more than 3,000 men have shared their stories of personal commitment to improving their community, many of which can be found at BMeCommunity.org.
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.
"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.
For a complete list of all the winners and for more information about BMe, visit: www.BMeCommunity.org.