MEN & BOYS
Be Present, Inc. has intentionally and systematically included the participation of men and boys in our community organizing work. The organization’s long-term strategy for social justice movement building began with the engagement and leadership development of black women and girls, then women and girls of color as well as white women and girls, followed by men and boys.
In 1996, diverse men and boys joined Be Present, Inc.'s national network members in regional dialogues. From these dialogues, men and boys organized in Be Present Peer Support Groups, as well as participated in Mothers, Sons, Daughters & Fathers Workshops and Training Weekends.
In 2004, Be Present Training Institutes on Race, Gender, Power & Class included men and boys who, in addition to receiving intensive facilitators’ training, also formed active Be Present Peer Support Groups to strengthen their leadership skills and support the development of other men and boys.
In 2006, Be Present, Inc. held One Day Community Trainings: Breaking Silences, Building Relationships to explore the intersections of racism, sexism, classism and anti-semitism.
Beginning in 2007, men and boys participated in National Board of Directors meetings and committees, as well as national network trainings and regional organizing activities. Also in 2007, Be Present, Inc. established the Anthony Quinn Jones Scholarship Fund to provide financial support to black men and boys to receive leadership training and join a network of partners throughout the country in building a national movement for social justice.
In June 2008, the men and boys in the Be Present, Inc. network led a day-long session entitled Men and Boys: Actualizing an Inclusive Vision of Community during the Journey to Be Present: A Legacy of Leadership for Social Justice national convening in Atlanta. Speakers, small group presenters and participants included families, community leaders, state and city officials and activists, all of whom shared their insights on the issues that have an impact on the lives of men and boys.
- Reconsidering traditional images and expectations of manhood;
- Impact of interweaving relationships of race, gender, class, power, identity and homophobia;
- How beliefs are shaped by the gender system and what it takes to move toward gender-equality;
- Building effective relationships between Black men, Men of Color, and White men; and
- Intersection of individual and societal responsibility;
- Supporting the next generation of diverse male leaders.
In November 2008, the Board of Directors voted to open Be Present, Inc.'s organizing and governance structures to include all men and boys. This decision completes Be Present, Inc.'s vision to include all people in all aspects of the organization.