The inaugural Black Male Educators Convening (BMEC) brought together 130 black male leaders in education and 20 special guests from around the Philadelphia community on October 1, 2015. The event was led by America Achieves Fellow Sharif El-Mekki along with Vincent Cobb. William Hayes, also a Fellow with America Achieves, offered support through the work of his Impact Project, the Black Male Educator Alliance.
The goal of the event was to amplify the voices of black men working in education and address the low presence of black males in the field. Currently, black men make up only 2% of the teaching profession.
The event sold out within 5 days of registration opening, and the momentum around this work is strong. During the convening, the group discussed ways to help to diversify the profession and addressed the career trajectory, upward mobility, and life cycle of black male career educators.
Superintendent of Philadelphia Schools ￼Dr. William Hite and State Senator Anthony Williams served as guest speakers. Other special guests include State Rep. Dwight Evans, State Sen. Vincent Hughes, State Rep. Jordan Harris, and State Rep. Jason Dawkins . Youssef Kromeh, a poet and former student of El-Mekki's, gave a powerful performance. The convening also included videotaped welcome address from David J. Johns, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
The BMEC was born out of a series of monthly meetups to provide connection and a supportive space for dynamic men engaged in education issues at different levels of leadership. It has gained an even broader audience as a result of an AAFTP Impact Project started by William Hayes, Curtis Lewis, and Eugene Pinkard. William Hayes, after taking the principalship role in a turnaround school in Camden, joined forces with Sharif El-Mekki to connect The Fellowship with the Black Male Educator Alliance. We are excited to see where this project leads! To learn more about the Black Male Educator Alliance, please visit their website.