How I’m Using Social Media to Support Black Men and Boys (and How You Can Too)

This is a guest post by Tracey Webb of BlackGivesBack.com.  It was originally published on the Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement website on May 3, 2012.

This year, I celebrate the 5th anniversary of my blog, BlackGivesBack.com(BGB), an online destination that highlights philanthropy in the African American community. I created the site in 2007 to showcase the rich, and often untold, stories of giving among African Americans. My goal with BGB is to inform, educate and spur people to action – and BGB has done just that. Readers have shared with me how they were inspired by the people and organizations featured to get involved in their own community and give back.

I receive pitches daily for articles to feature, and in November 2011, I was sent an email about the report, “Portrayal and Perception: Two Audits of News Media Reporting on African American Men and Boys.”  After reading the title, I knew what the report’s findings would be – that black men and boys are overrepresented in crime-related stories with little coverage on topics such as education, leadership, and business. The findings were even more prevalent among young black males aged 15-30. So I thought to myself, what can I do?  Among the report’s recommendations is to use the blogosphere as a vehicle to highlight positive stories. I decided to use BlackGivesBack as that vehicle – something that doesn’t require any money to do, just my time. BGB’s Black Men & Boys Series kicked off last month with a feature on Life Pieces to Masterpieces, a Washington, DC based organization that uses the arts to enrich the lives of young black males. Subsequent posts have featured Visible Men, a national success network for black boys and men, and Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of The Admiral Center, who shared how her organization is galvanizing celebrities, athletes and the business community in support of men of color. A profile on David McGhee, program director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint, was picked up by a national media outlet, MLive.com, which provided increased exposure for the series.

Future articles will spotlight young men who have participated in actor and comedian Steve Harvey’s annual Father’s Day Mentoring Weekend through a partnership with the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation; profile black male business executives and CEOs; and showcase local stories of giving and inspiration by black males across the country. Not only has the report inspired me to support the cause online, but offline as well. I’m currently volunteering with Mentoring 2 Manhood (M2M), an organization that serves black boys in Prince George’s County, Maryland by joining their marketing and communication committee. I’m excited for the Leadership and Sustainability Institute (LSI) and their efforts to support organizations such as M2M. I look forward to using LSI to help me to identify organizations and individuals to feature.

Here’s how you can get involved to support this movement of uplifting our black males. If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or another social media site, share positive stories of African American males and spread awareness of organizations doing great work in your community to support the next generation of black men. Also, let your local media know of events that they can cover and black males to highlight for feature stories. It’s up to us to make mainstream media aware of all the positive coverage they’re missing out on!  And I want to hear from you. Let me know how you like the series, and send me your story ideas! Tracey[at]blackgivesback[dot]com.

Tracey Webb is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BlackGivesBack.com, and the Founder of The Black Benefactors, a giving circle based in Washington, DC that provides grants and support to organizations serving the African American community in the metropolitan Washington region. She has 20 years of career experience that includes positions in the nonprofit and grant making sectors. She has written for Huffington Post’s Black Voices and Black Enterprise.com, and has appeared in national media outlets including the NY Times, Ebony magazine, and MSNBC’s The Grio.com.

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Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2012.

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