Earlier this month, BMe announced its 2015 BMe Community Leader Awards. Now in its fifth iteration, the awards give up to 50 black men across the country $10,000 for their community-building efforts and connects them with people who share a similar social mission. 10 of those men are from Philadelphia, and they’re working in a variety of different fields, including mentoring, art, community engagement, education and more.
“At BMe we want to control and change the narrative on how black men and boys are viewed in our city and across our nation,” Jeffrey Jones, acting community manager and one of last years recipients said when we spoke to him earlier this year. “That is why we are excited about the BMe Community Leader Award because we can show that there are brothers in the city that are doing things that are positive, showing that black men and boys are valued assets to their community and helping to build healthy and prosperous neighborhoods across our nation.”
This year’s winners in Philadelphia are:
- Joel Austin, president/CEO of Daddy University Inc and Executive Director of the School of Parent Education. DU currently runs fatherhood programs in the Phila area, Founded the National Fatherhood Conference and the Annual Daddy Daughter Dance.
- Mont Brown, leader of the hip-hop band “The Astronauts” who is bringing a new sound and a fresh face to the Philadelphia hip-hop movement. He is also the founder of the Kick Back Community Festival which aims to bridge the divide between communities and reduce violence in the city.
- Otis Bullock, the first Black executive director of Diversified Community Services. He is also is an attorney with a combination of cross-functional experience in law, government, and nonprofits. Bullock has dedicated his career to fighting poverty, strengthening communities, and ensuring equal opportunity for all Philadelphians.
- Nehemiah Davis, an author, entrepreneur and founder of The Nehemiah Davis Foundation, an organization that aims to inspire youth and assist the homeless with a helping hand.
- Marvin Dotton, a full time kindergarten teacher and the CEO and founder of Marvin Education services where he serves youth in kindergarten through twelfth grade. He has dedicated his life and has used his experiences as a teacher to develop high quality programming in the area of tutoring, school readiness and workshop development.
- Tracey Fisher runs his own nonprofit organization that provides necessary reentry services and training to individuals returning home from jail or prison. Through his program, he offers daily workshops on a multitude of topics including job readiness, anger management, life skills, dressing for success, and resume writing workshops.
- Sulaiman Rahman, a social entrepreneur that uses his skills and resources to engage, empower and connect the next generations of business developers and civic leaders Sulaiman’s business, The Urban Philly Professional Network, has grown into thousands of members and hosted various events to strengthen communities in Philadelphia.
- Wayne Rucker works at the Mayor’s Initiative PowerCorpsPHL, which works to empower communities through green initiatives, environmental clean ups and other community driven focuses. He works to empower men who have faced trials and tribulations, similar to those he himself faced in his not so distant past, to overcome all obstacles that may be in their way.
- Eric Worley, co-founder and director of Triple Threat Foundation, Eric uses the sport of basketball to engage, mentor and develop young athletes all across his beloved city. Eric is developing a basketball program that ensures the boys and girls teams from 8th grade through 11th grade are able to travel and compete at national level college exposure events.
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