Trabian Shorters is co-author of New York Times Bestseller “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading and Succeeding” and founding chief executive officer of BMe Community, a national network of all races and genders committed to a 21st century narrative about America, its values, and black men’s roles in them. Both REACH and BMe Community are based on data showing a fundamental shift in demographics and a concurrent battle of perceptions taking place below the radar in America. Traditional framings of black men date back 50 years to the civil rights era and reinforce messages that they represent problems and threats and may want unearned opportunities and privileges. Shorters demonstrates that updating that narrative to recognize black men’s impressive contributions and leadership is the key to modernizing positive community engagement in matters of race, cities and America’s future. He uses a specific approach called “Asset-Framing” which is fact-based, optimistic and refreshes the dialog in ways that enlighten and create new opportunities for a prosperous future together.
Trabian developed Asset-Framing and BMe Community while serving for six years as vice president of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation where he directed a $300-million portfolio of grants and endowments in 26 regions including Detroit, Philadelphia, Miami and Silicon Valley. When he spun the entity off from the Knight Foundation in July 2013, he received backing from Knight, Open Society Foundations, and The Heinz Endowments. BMe Community has operations in Akron, Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and is expanding nationally. The network already includes 35,000+ ‘Community Builders’ of all races and genders and 140+ black male BMe Leaders who provide youth development, human rights, and economic opportunities to over 400,000 of their neighbors each year.