By National Vice-Captain James Hale, Director of Communications.
We profess that we are a network of Influence and impact. The influence is clear! The countless number of men that The Healthy Brotherhood has attracted and motivated has grown by leaps and bounds. That ‘get moving’ movement spills over into other areas of life as well, i.e.., improving our nutrition, eliminating, or minimizing unhealthy habits as well as helping others. This is the influence.
Now, let’s talk about Black Men Run’s Impact!
Overall, our chapters operate very similar. The impact of BMR is what our men do outside of the group runs and socially fun activities. There exists in this brotherhood a spirit of giving back to the community. There is no one way to do this. We do not pressure any of our chapters to do charitable work. But guess what…. Men see and men do!
Our Nashville chapter led by Demetrious Short and Harold Rucker has had a program called Brown Boys Read for several years. The program encourages running and literacy among our kids. They are also currently “working on an initiative to get younger runners with Fisk and Tennessee State Universities” in Nashville.
Over the 2023 Christmas holidays, the Philadelphia chapter led by Lawrence Harrington partnered with Voice of Praise Worldwide Ministries in “feeding the homeless and less fortunate.” They also use the MLK holiday to “provide gently used running sneakers that they have collected throughout the year along with food and hydration.”
Phoenix Arizona chapter led by trail running master Jay Tinsley also uses the MLK holiday to partner with the Franklin Police and Fire High School MLK Torch Run; a 5K that goes from City Hall to the Convention Center. This gets kids exposed to running and they learn about the legacy of Dr. King.
The Raleigh Durham, NC chapter used the Christmas holidays to work with ‘In The Image of Jesus Ministries’ in distributing toys to a local daycare center. Those toys were a very generous donation from BMR brother Rodney Byrd and GameStop. Arthur Livingston is the captain for Raleigh.
We have chapters that also do ongoing charitable like the Atlanta chapter led by Captain Mark Monroe. Brother Eliyah Hammer works at the local Safehouse Outreach where meals are served daily to those who need it. The second Sunday of each month has been BMR Day at the center. What can be better than serving the community while having a great time doing it?
Captain Jeff Davis’s Boston Chapter seems to never sleep. These brothers are involved in community health awareness events, i.e., Voices of Liberation, Scope HQ which is a running event where they donate personal health and nutrition products and they also participate in several other community volunteerism efforts such as Haley House: Historic Food Pantry, Community Wellness Fairs, Sickle Cell Awareness. On Boston Marathon weekend, they have linked up with the BAA [Boston Athletic Association] where they do a Black History-Shake-Out Run, going on 3 years now.
The brothers in the Columbia SC chapter, led by Captain Curtis John, recently started participating in and some serving as Ambassadors for the South Carolina Prostate Cancer Screening Program for African American Men. MEN, MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING SCREENED ANNUALLY! More info at: https://hollingscancercenter.musc.edu/outreach/amen-program
Vice-Captain Joseph Brown also leads the chapter in BLACK MEN READ, ‘a program where we read books to elementary school children to stir and enhance their joy of books.”
Troy Thomas is Captain for our Tampa Florida chapter in addition to working with the Metropolitan Ministries “to feed the homeless. We noticed during our Tampa Riverwalk group runs, the same homeless people who are always friendly with us. So, we’re going to try and incorporate that in the upcoming year.” How wonder is that?
We have so many chapters doing so many things throughout the country. Denver chapter Vice-Captain Dondre Harris tells me that they do volunteer work for Food for Thought and Soles4Souls. Baltimore chapter works with the Salvation Army’s Toy Drive, according to Captain Maurice Jenkins.
This is just a sample of the impact that Black Men Run is making all over the country. When we say we are not just a run club, believe it!