Fifteen Black men working to impact their Baltimore communities will be honored May 18 at Coppin State University with grants totaling $200,000 from BMe, an organization working to create a nationwide network of Black men creating change.
This year marks the first time Baltimore has been included in the call for grant applicants. The first wave of grants was awarded in 2011 in Philadelphia and Detroit.
Through a partnership between the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Open Society Foundations, BMe called for video testimony from Black men about how they were making an impact in their communities in each of the three cities.
“BMe started from us seeing that Black males were being recognized as absent, a problem or a threat,” said Trabian Shorters, founder of BMe and vice president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “We said that’s a pretty useless way to identify them. We then set out to go into the community to talk to Black males about what they do to give back to their community.”
In Baltimore nearly 140 videos were sent in from men working for a variety of goals including mentorship, education, employment, the environment, health and more. BMe then put together a separate group of anonymous community leaders and organizers across Baltimore to review the tapes and selected a diverse group of men working in the community.
The awardees will receive grants of between $10,000 and $20,000. Videos for the winners can be seen here (http://bmecommunity.org/COMMUNITYGRANT/2013Baltimore/tabid/131/Default.aspx) and include:
--Coppin State University student Shawn Burnett
--Anti-violence advocate Gardnel Carter
--Computer scientist Emmanuel Cephas
--Entrepreneur Brian Gray
--Entrepreneur and former Bethlehem steelworker Edward Griffin
--Coppin State University student Cirron Lanier Greenidge
--High school student Trevor Hale
--Community activist Elder Clyde Harris
--Chemist Lydell Henry
--Policy advocates Adam Jackson and Dayvon Love
--Outreach worker Anton Pridget
--Community leader Billy Stanfield
--Equestrian and activist Jean Albert Renaud
--Counselor Luther Thompson
“The problem isn’t that men don’t care,” said Shorters. “The problem is that they are not well networked, they don’t have the resources and they aren’t being highlighted.”
The fifteen men were named as the 2013 Baltimore BMe Leadership Award Winners. Their organizations and causes ran the gamut including creating a debate team, urban farming, on-the-job training for youth, stemming violence through community campaigns and more.
“This grant just rewarded them for their commitment to make their communities stronger,” said Shorters.