BMe leaders in Baltimore receive $10,000 for community-building efforts

— BMe Community has announced its selections for the 2014 BMe Leader Awards, aimed at providing recognition, funding and networking opportunities to black men who take action to help build prosperous cities across the country.

The 2014 BMe Leaders are comprised of 30 men, 10 each from the three cities where BMe operates— Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. In these cities, black men’s faces are often associated with the cities’ greatest challenges. BMe contends that if more people see the host of ways that inspired Black men bring out the best in the city, then these cities will have a better more accurate, more attractive image as well.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the ‘extra’ that brothers like these put into this city and the lives of its people. They’re everyday contributions make Baltimore an extraordinary place to live,” said BMe CEO and Founder Trabian Shorters.

“My grandfather was an ordinary man who did extraordinary good for anyone who knew him,” added Shorters. “I want to honor men like him. I want to be a man like him. So I started BMe so that we all have a chance to honor and engage the good in our communities and our cities.”

Each year, the BMe Leader Awards are presented with the notion that everyday black men should be acknowledged as assets, who regularly do something to improve the lives of others. They are owners, builders and doers who quietly make a substantial positive impact on society as a whole. Discounting their contributions makes the city itself seem less valuable.

Shorters remarks about the need for this type of actionable recognition, “If you’re trying to build a more prosperous Baltimore, you have to build upon the great assets of Baltimore. BMe men like these are all over Baltimore.

“The stories you tell yourself create the life that you’ll live. We must tell the true story of our city’s inspired, authentic Black men otherwise people might get the false impression they don’t exist.”

BMe began as an innovation of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and now operates as an independent entity with support from Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Skillman Foundation.

For more information about the 2014 BMe Baltimore Leaders program, please contact Rodney Foxworth at rodney@bmecommunity.org. Visit www.bmecommunity.org.

Chris Wilson leads the Community Workforce Development at Greater Homewood Community Corporation and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to expand and resource the Barclay Business School, a “low-tech” incubator that he founded to teach employable skills to aspiring Baltimore entrepreneurs.

Chris Wilson leads the Community Workforce Development at Greater Homewood Community Corporation and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to expand and resource the Barclay Business School, a “low-tech” incubator that he founded to teach employable skills to aspiring Baltimore entrepreneurs.

Chaz Arnett stands up for the most vulnerable and gives a voice to the voiceless. He represents kids who cannot afford attorneys who've been charged with crimes; the 2014 BMe Leader Award will help him to continue his research and create an interactive app that provides informational legal resources.

Chaz Arnett stands up for the most vulnerable and gives a voice to the voiceless. He represents kids who cannot afford attorneys who’ve been charged with crimes; the 2014 BMe Leader Award will help him to continue his research and create an interactive app that provides informational legal resources.

Damion Cooper is a youth minister and mentor who is also the Director of Office and Neighborhood Constituent Relations for the Baltimore City Council, and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to develop

Damion Cooper is a youth minister and mentor who is also the Director of Office and Neighborhood Constituent Relations for the Baltimore City Council, and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to develop “PHOENIX RISING”, a holistic educational curriculum for youth which incorporates athletics, art, and meditation.

Chris Wilson leads the Community Workforce Development at Greater Homewood Community Corporation and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to expand and resource the Barclay Business School, a “low-tech” incubator that he founded to teach employable skills to aspiring Baltimore entrepreneurs.

Chris Wilson leads the Community Workforce Development at Greater Homewood Community Corporation and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to expand and resource the Barclay Business School, a “low-tech” incubator that he founded to teach employable skills to aspiring Baltimore entrepreneurs.

Fagan Harris is a social entrepreneur inspired to reshape the way local businesses and philanthropies cultivate homegrown talent. He will use the 2014 BMe Leader Award to pilot a class that cultivates resources, mentors, and coaches to empower ‘Baltimore for Baltimore’ entrepreneurs.

Fagan Harris is a social entrepreneur inspired to reshape the way local businesses and philanthropies cultivate homegrown talent. He will use the 2014 BMe Leader Award to pilot a class that cultivates resources, mentors, and coaches to empower ‘Baltimore for Baltimore’ entrepreneurs.

LeDamien Myers directs Project Lead the Way, a biomedical program for students at Western High School, and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to develop extracurricular science programs that cultivate next generation health care professionals, particularly historically underrepresented Baltimore City youth.

LeDamien Myers directs Project Lead the Way, a biomedical program for students at Western High School, and will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to develop extracurricular science programs that cultivate next generation health care professionals, particularly historically underrepresented Baltimore City youth.

Lance Lucas is the founder of Digit All Systems, a program that has trained more than 10,000 students in computer programming through partnerships with 60 schools in Baltimore City. Lucas will use the 2014 BMe Leader Award to certify computer technicians in Baltimore City Schools and beyond.

Lance Lucas is the founder of Digit All Systems, a program that has trained more than 10,000 students in computer programming through partnerships with 60 schools in Baltimore City. Lucas will use the 2014 BMe Leader Award to certify computer technicians in Baltimore City Schools and beyond.

Michael Franklin is an advocate who serves to empower young voices in conversations of race, class, gender, sexuality, and equality. He will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to facilitate 'Safe Space for All' to cultivate a safe and constructive environment for adolescents to discuss Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues, health and wellness, and various topics related to social justice.

Michael Franklin is an advocate who serves to empower young voices in conversations of race, class, gender, sexuality, and equality. He will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to facilitate ‘Safe Space for All’ to cultivate a safe and constructive environment for adolescents to discuss Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues, health and wellness, and various topics related to social justice.

Preston Greene is a passionate community advocate who led a public-private partnership that brought the first grocery store in 15 years to his Northwest Baltimore neighborhood; he will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to launch a capacity building course for high school students and young adults.

Preston Greene is a passionate community advocate who led a public-private partnership that brought the first grocery store in 15 years to his Northwest Baltimore neighborhood; he will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to launch a capacity building course for high school students and young adults.

Walter Lomax spent 46 years in prison as a victim of a wrongful conviction, and cares deeply about the humane criminal justice. He will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to support a reentry counseling program for prisoners at risk of second offense as a consequence of the social and psychological dissociation they experience.

Walter Lomax spent 46 years in prison as a victim of a wrongful conviction, and cares deeply about the humane criminal justice. He will use his 2014 BMe Leader Award to support a reentry counseling program for prisoners at risk of second offense as a consequence of the social and psychological dissociation they experience.