Black Men with Initiatives (BMWI) began as a small academic organization that ensured Black male students successful matriculated through the university. We had a huge impact on the University of West Georgia. Our work and support of Black male success change the stereotypes of Black male students. The legacy proves that with focus, determination and support, Black males can defeat the odds. Not only did we change the stereotypes of Black men, we also advocated for more Professors of color to be added to the faculty and staff, quality program offerings such as Africana Studies and ensuring the a multicultural is the culture and not simply a part of it. Our organization brought Dick Gregory, Cornell West and many other affluent Black males as guest speakers of our lecture series. We exposed the campus and community to a movement. We changed the hashtags of Black males from #RIP #BlackThugs to #BMWI #ShunNottheStruggle #BlackMenCan
Pictured are BMWI members who became SGA Presidents at UWG for 4 consecutive years (note UWG is a PWI). We left a lasting legagcy for others to follow. (Right to left: Jason B. Allen was the 2nd African-American SGA President, Riean Norman was the 3rd African-American SGA President, Terrance Lewis was the 4th African-American SGA President, Robert Kelly was the 5th African-American SGA President and Jaravis Hall was the 6th African-American SGA President in 110 year history of the school.
BMWI elevated each of our participants providing us with the best opportunities to join and grow within the top networks in their fields. It trained us on how to advance within our fields, how to be successful in the workforce, the strength of our heritage and pride of being an educated Black man. Now, we are doing the same thing in local schools within our community. We’re members of honors, civic and Greek organizations that are built on service, scholarship and success. Our mission for our members post-graduate is to be the example of Black men that isn’t the stereotype but the legacy.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.