Since the beginning of BMEsTalk foundation, we’ve operated on our passion for building communities for Black male educators. As we witness how widespread the need is, our mission has continued to grow.
Did you realize that Black men only make up 2% of the teaching force in America? However, it’s been heavily reported that the presence of a Black man in the classroom lends to better outcomes for students. That’s why our work is essential.
Our community building is more necessary than ever to help Black male educators stay motivated despite being overloaded with disciplinarian roles and fighting burnout. Institutions consistently give Black educators additional roles that go above and beyond teacher, as they’re seen as the token Black male in their schools and expected to be disciplinarian figures as well as educators.
Black men in the education field need a place where they can safely go to discuss the unique issues they face in their careers. However, it’s not enough to simply acknowledge the fact that this community is needed — we have to make measurable steps towards it. That’s where our workshops and online engagement opportunities come into play.
BMEsTalk LIVE is just one of the many ways that we’re building communities for Black male educators. This experience is a weekly online engagement where men are invited to join a Twitter chat or attend a social gathering. They’re organized by Ayodele Harrison, one of our founders, an education consultant and former teacher. Through his mentorship, along with others, Black male educators find a safe place to learn as they come together and share their stories.
Through these gatherings, immense joy has been found among the communities as Black men are able to speak without fear of judgment or bias. The stereotypes that have been forced upon them by society can fall away as they let go of labels that have never served them well. Words like “stoic” and “hardened” are replaced with strong and bold. Men feel the freedom to let loose, laugh, and embrace as they find new bonds and kinships. No one can understand their burden and passion like their brothers.
This burden is one of the toughest lessons that Black male educators have to teach their children and, at times, their students. Many recall the difficult lectures they have given about the injustices of the criminal justice systems. They try to balance the brutal reality with the important lesson that Black men must value who we are as everyone in our community has value, despite what culture may convey.
As Preston, a BME contributor said, “It’s a tough conversation to have, even with my own son, but I often talk to my students like they are my own…I’ve had to help them understand that some folks will see them as a threat…I wanted to create a new generation of people who could create these unique learning experiences for more Black students to level the playing field.”
With mentors like Preston and others, the future for Black students and educators is more hopeful than ever, and it makes BMEsTalk excited to be a part of this future. The future is Black. The future is bold.