As the Juneteenth holiday celebration of Black culture approaches, nonprofit BMe Community announces awards to 23 remarkable Black leaders whom they call BMe Vanguards. The award is given to Black people whose service and leadership have earned them the respect and trust of their communities. Each awardee is admitted into an advanced leadership program and receives a $10,000 grant to further the work they are doing in their communities.
Through its Vanguard Program, BMe Community equips awardees to lead from narratives of Black aspirations rather than degradations. It also provides them access to expert knowledge and networks, in addition to the grants which total $230,000, to advance their life-changing work.
“The BMe Vanguard are taught to define Black people and all people by their aspirations and contributions rather than by degradations and disparities,” said BMe Community Founder and CEO, Trabian Shorters. “We don’t ignore what’s wrong with situations, but we start with what’s right with the people. Then we build their freedoms to live, own, vote, and excel. That’s how we build equity without stigma.”
BMe Community strikes a novel yet effective tone on racial and social progress.
The commitment to defining people by aspirations and contributions is known as “Asset-Framing”. Its practitioners report that it helps them to raise more money, have bigger policy impacts, and gain greater public support than traditional approaches.
“We’re all different,” said 2022 BMe Vanguard Anton Horton, Dean of Culture at University Prep in Detroit. “We all come from different places, but the one thing that makes us alike is that we’re here to change the world as Black people for Black people.” And that creates a better society for everyone.
The 2022 BMe Vanguard Awardees from Metro Detroit are: Kenya Abbott Jr., Tyrone Bean, Dillion Ashton Brown, Javier Evelyn, Nedra Hall, Ragine Head, Anton Horton, Destynee Nixon, Jeremiah Steen, Daniel Washington, Alyssa Williams.
The 2022 BMe Vanguard Awardees Nationally (not including Detroit) are: Kibi Anderson – Los Angeles, CA; John Borders IV – Boston, MA; Saeeda Dunston – Queens, NY; Paula Fontana – McDonough, Georgia; Tina Gridiron – Indianapolis, IN; Adam Johnson – Las Vegas, NV; Kenya Lloyd – Raleigh, NC; Samantha Lyons – Philadelphia, PA; Sophia Peake – Philadelphia, PA; Jerelyn Rodriguez – New York, NY; Anthony ShoeCraft – Seattle, WA; Derek Steele – Inglewood, CA.
The 2022 BMe Vanguard awardees join 400 previous winners whose work with hundreds of organizations help millions of families to live healthier, more fulfilling lives; own and build wealth; secure their voting rights, and achieve their full potential. This inspired community of Black leaders hail from the business, education, public policy, culture, and social impact fields. They were chosen for their authenticity, positivity, effectiveness, and the trust they’ve earned with their peers and in the communities they serve.
The Skillman Foundation funded ten of the eleven awardees from Detroit. The NBA Foundation and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation funded the national awardees.
Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day”, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and is observed annually on June 19th.