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Are Black Men the Hidden Geniuses Building Our Community?

Congratulations to Damian Daley, one of the Miami honorees of the BMe Community Geniuses. Mr. Daley is the Vice Chair of Catalyst Miami's Board of Directors.

June 20, 2017
By BMe Community, Contributor
From the Huffington Post

Starting on Father’s Day, BMe Community recognized 29 inspired black men as Community Geniuses and award each $10,000 for programs they’re leading to “build more caring and prosperous communities” in Akron, Miami, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Our movements need men like these,” says political commentator Van Jones. “They’re the ones the community trusts and listens to because they’re the ones who are always there helping – regardless of whether we acknowledge them or not.”

BMe Community Geniuses come from all walks of life including Mayor Oliver Gilbert, 45, of Miami Gardens; former STOMP percussionist Elec Simons, 35, of Akron, OH; Safi Juice owner and founder Rasheed Sharif, 31, of Pittsburgh; Psychologist Dr. James George, 38, of Philadelphia and neighborhood leader James Mungin, 27, of Miami.

The honorees all have just two things in common. One, they’ve sworn their lives to helping others. Two, they succeed in places where others cannot.

“BMe is different,” says it’s founder, Trabian Shorters. “We build on the assets of the black community. When you add up the impact of our Community Geniuses, no matter what race or gender you are, you’ll want to celebrate and build the future with us.”

That celebration and building begin with BMe Community Genius Awards shows taking place in Miami (June 21st), Akron (June 29th), and Pittsburgh (June 30th).

BMe Community is the same network that made waves last fall by depositing $1-million into black-owned OneUnited Bank. The previous year they published New York Times bestseller “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living Leading and Succeeding.”

Since 2013, BMe’s 194 Community Geniuses have helped more than 2-million families acquire health, wealth, education, safety, justice and housing opportunities. BMe Community offers additional networks and opportunities for people of any race or gender.

BMe Community Genius is the largest fellowship in the country for black men social entrepreneurs; and is backed by leading foundations including the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trusts, The Campaign for Black Male Achievement and The Heinz Endowments.

2017 BMe Community Genius Honorees:

(Please note only Miami honorees are listed here. See the full list of honorees in other cities in the full article.)


· Mario Bailey, 36, is the Senior Government Relations Consultant of Becker and Poilakoff and founder of Mary’s Kids. Mario will use his award to create a web platform to coach students on how to navigate college.

· Malik Benjamin, 39, is the managing director of Institute of Collaborative Innovation, LLC and the founder of Creative Mornings Miami. Malik will use his award to continue to interweave powerful networks in Miami.

· Chad Cherry, 37, is the owner and CEO of Refresh Live Café Inc. Chad will use his award to expand and support mentoring programs.

· Damian Daley, 36, is founding partner of Wilson Daley, PLLC and Vice Chair of the Board of Director of Catalyst Miami. He will use his award to provide academic intervention and mentoring to students in the Overtown/Liberty City area.

· Oliver Gilbert, 44, is the Mayor of Miami Gardens. Mayor Gilbert will use his award to purchase computers for college-bound seniors.

· Sir Charles Hill, 31, is the Managing Director of Echo Tech Vision Foundation. Sir Charles will use his award to strengthen support of the financial literacy program within Miami-Dade County.

· James Mungin, 27, is the Technical Director of the African-Heritage Cultural Arts Center. James will use his award to strengthen his media production apprenticeship program called All Like Minds, Inc.

· Dawyen Sekajipo, 31, is the president and CEO of Sekajipo for the People Productions, LLC. Dawyen will use his award to produce a documentary and compilation album featuring youth, local artists and activists who come together in the studio to discuss issues facing the youth of Miami.

· Kevin Smith, 33, is the Director of Smith Capital Investments and a member of the Millennial Investment Group which works with OneUnited Bank to purchase and upgrade housing for more sustainable communities. Kevin will use his award to help sponsor at least 100 students from Florida Memorial University who are interested in career opportunities in commercial real estate.

· Rev. Joaquin Willis, 67, is the Pastor of the Church of the Open Door. Rev. Willis will use his award to invest in his 2017 Leadership Development Summer Camp that will include a new and expanded focus on teen entrepreneurship and year- round employment.

Are Black Men the Hidden Geniuses Building Our Community?


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