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Graduation of Black Men Lead Boston Inaugural Cohort Celebrated

Black Men Lead Boston is designed for Black men over the age of 18 in Boston who want to become more civically engaged and leaders in their communities.

Mayor Michelle Wu today celebrated the first graduation for the Black Men Lead Boston (BMLB)’s inaugural cohort. This event at the newly built City Hall Plaza Pavilion celebrated the 24 graduates who have spent the past eight weeks building community with a strong focus on developing participants’ civic organizing and movement building capacity in communities that have been historically disenfranchised. Black Men Lead Boston is a new program recently launched and led by the Office of Black Male Advancement (BMA), a department in the City’s Equity Cabinet.

"Black Men Lead Boston strengthens our city's foundation for empowering Black men and expanded civic leadership across our neighborhoods," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "These BMLB graduates show unwavering commitment to their communities and have already started to empower and build with other Black men across Boston. I’m proud to highlight their success as the first graduating cohort of the Black Men Lead Boston program and looking forward to the cohort’s impact across our communities."

Black Men Lead Boston is designed for Black men over the age of 18 in Boston who want to become more civically engaged and leaders in their communities. The program is a core part of Black Male Advancement’s work to improve outcomes and reduce systemic barriers to advancement for Black men and boys living in Boston. 

“Our 2022 Black Men Lead Boston inaugural cohort is truly a more empowered and civically engaged collective,” said Frank Farrow, Executive Director of Black Male Advancement. “The graduates are better positioned to advocate for equitable resources for their communities, ensuring they have a stronger voice on issues impacting Black men and boys across Boston. This program showed the participants that there are opportunities and spaces for them to lead and serve throughout the city. I’m very excited to see what all of our cohort participants do next and I know that their time to create lasting change in their communities is now.”

“We are focused on ensuring that every community member across Boston’s neighborhoods has all the resources they need to thrive in our city,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity and Inclusion. “I’m thrilled for all of Black Men Lead Boston’s participants and confident that they will engage even more residents to build a more equitable and inclusive Boston for everyone.”

From October 12 through December 6, the inaugural cohort learned a range of skills, knowledge, and practical experience through weekly hour-long sessions aimed at positioning them to robustly organize their communities for social change. Participants also met with key City of Boston officials from various departments and members of the Black Men and Boys Commission to learn how to effectively access crucial city services, navigate local government, foster civic engagement within their communities and sustain advocacy related to issues impacting Black men and boys across the city’s neighborhoods. The cohort’s participants are from many of the city’s neighborhoods including Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, South Boston, South End and Jamaica Plain.

"Black Male Advancement opened the door to the resources we need to make change in our community,” said Lamont Thomas, Black Men Lead Boston 2022 Cohort participant. “It's one thing to say you want thing's to change. This Black Men Lead Boston cohort allowed me to see that change is alive and well.”

The cohort’s weekly sessions were developed and facilitated by The Davis System LLC, which provides grassroots organizing strategy to individuals, organizations and communities across the country. Topics covered include but were not limited to: civic engagement, storytelling, volunteer recruitment, gathering community support for issues and causes, debate, group facilitation, and media engagement.

“It was an honor to organize the first ever Black Men Lead Boston program,” said Anthony Davis, Jr., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Davis System, LLC. “From the inception of the program, our vision was to provide the men that participated in the program with the skills and knowledge to advocate for the changes they wish to see in their communities in Boston. The brothers felt this was one of the few spaces that they could go in and be vulnerable and tell their story, and through that they found additional power in the community we were building.”

This April, the Office of Black Male Advancement will hold a spring 2023 program focused on engaging young people, particularly high school students in Boston. Applications for this program will open in the new year. For more information regarding the program and how to apply, please visit Black Male Advancement’s webpage.

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