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I AM MENtality Youth Male Empowerment Project is one of 137 Black-led nonprofits in Baltimore, according to a list provided by CLLCTIVLY. We are Black-led, and we serve a community that is largely Black. 

Black history is an important component of our Leadership Academy throughout the year. During the month of February, we stepped it up a notch and took the opportunity to highlight the role that our Youth Leaders play in history, talk about periods in Black history that shaped our culture today, and we practiced activism–we stood up against racial injustice by running for justice with SOY Baltimore.

Here’s a closer look at how we highlighted Black History Month 2022:

Building Character

We kicked off Black History Month with a photo/video shoot that included twelve Youth Leaders. “I am Black history,” they each declared on cue for our videographer, Kham D. Owens, who produced a beautiful video of the young men in celebration of Black heritage. Watch and share the video below!

 

Executive Director, Darren Rogers, explained that the photoshoots are intended to build confidence in the young men and support their leadership skills in addition to capturing I AM MENtality’s story of transformation to share with the world.

Take a look at the amazing photos (please share and tag @iammentality) by Willis Aybar, Owner of Studio 87: 

A Black History Lesson

On the educational front, Sarah Wallace, a Resource Center Director & Strategist for community-based businesses and organizations, led a Black history discussion with Youth Leaders via Zoom. She covered an overview of the Black experience from Africa to the Atlantic Slave Trade to the Harlem Renaissance. As an educator, Sarah focuses on financial literacy and Black history because of how essential they are to our communities, especially to our youth.

In honor of our sixth anniversary as an organization, we have pulled together a list of six ways you, too, can play a role in this crucial project to make Baltimore better.

 

Additionally, our Youth Leader, Davonte’ Mobuary, presented a special report on Harriet Tubman. Tap here to see another beautiful Kham Owens production.

Running For Justice With SOY Baltimore

The final event during Black History Month 2022 was an annual run with SOY Baltimore. SOY is a nonprofit organization that helps bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth to create change in Baltimore. 

This year’s run was in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was the victim of a deadly hate crime on February 23, 2020 in Glynn County, Georgia. The three white men associated with Ahmaud’s death were found guilty of murder and were sentenced to life in prison the day after our run. We posted a reel: Justice is served! 

Our Biggest Challenges

As a Black-led nonprofit centered around empowering youth males, we face at least two big challenges:

  1. Finding enough Mentors to engage with Youth Leaders on a regular basis. Are you interested in becoming a Mentor? Send your resumé and three professional references to info@iammentality.com.

  2. Securing the funding to keep I AM MENtality programming going for years to come. We need ongoing support from members in our community like you. Please visit www.iammentality.com/donate to submit a donation. Consider becoming a Sustainer by setting up a monthly payment today!