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BMe is back to stay

By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Black Party members

Left to right: Councilmember James Tate, DeAndre Calvert, Shaka Senghor, Rishi Jaitly, BMe founder Trabian Shorters and Emu Michael Kumane

DETROIT — The Knight Foundation and BMe (Share, Inspire, Connect,) launched a networking event Oct. 30 to encourage men to be moral role models in the city of Detroit. BMe is a growing network of “brothers” committed to making communities stronger, according to its Web site. These men come from all walks of life. They are businessman, mentors, educators and leaders of their communities.

Trabian Shorters, the founder of BMe (Black Male Engagement) is inspired to highlight Black males in the city of Detroit who contribute positively in their community.

“I came with the idea for BMe a year ago, because a lot of the news about Black men is what’s wrong with Black men. The fact of the matter is we hear that story so much that we actually forget about all the men who are doing things to keep the community strong and that’s a big mistake,” Shorter said. “So we are going to figure out how to make our communities better rather than saying how can we fix every Black man we see. I say let’s start with the men who are doing great things and build around them. One of my mentors, Charles Kelly, inspired me to do it ‘Black’ and that is what I am doing.”

Several of Detroit’s Black males received $5 to $20,000 in grant funding  from BMe’s 2011 Challenge to continue their positive work in their community.

This event inspired “brothers” to encourage the next “brother” to be the best man they can be. Over 50 men were in attendance at the event and it was a success.

“I am here to support BMe in any way that I can,” Detroit Councilman James Tate told the Michigan Citizen. “I think what these brothers are doing is motivating for the city of Detroit. Crime levels and unemployment are increasing, but no one hears about the great works that the brothers in Detroit are doing for the community.”

Tate says he’s known about BMe for months and he wants to do what he can to help the men on their mission.

“I have been looking for a way to be more involved and these guys gave me the opportunity to do so,” he added.

Shaka Senghor, a member of BMe and awardee of $2,500 BMe grant money, has been very motivated by the positivity of BMe.

“I got inspired by the work I do in the community and how important it is to really acknowledge that there are positive brothers doing positive things in the city,” he said. The next event for BMe is Nov. 13 at 4731 Gallery and Studios, located at 4731 Grand River. The event will be hosted by Comedian Cocoa. BMe hopes to attract more people at the next event to continue to tell their story and convince more brothers to step up to the plate and create more positive action in the community.

For more information about BMe and the next event, contact Shaka Senghor at Jamesangelowhite@gmail.com and Deandre Calvert at dcalvert03@gmail.com, or visit www.bmechallenge.net and www.bmecommunity.org

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