One Hundred Black Men, Inc is one of many New York City based non-profit organizations doing great work in the community. Last Thursday, they held the 36th Annual Benefit Gala at the midtown Hilton. The purpose of the event was two-fold. One, to raise money for the organization. Secondly, to recognize people who are doing the work of advocacy and mentorship. The overarching theme of the evening was the necessity of economic empowerment in the African-American community.
With the statement “we change outcomes” as a mantra, the One Hundred Black Men gala began by focusing on the difference that they made in the lives of young people. Hosted by ABC Anchor Sade Baderinwa, this event opened with the youth. There was ample focus on the importance of mentorship, and preparing the next generation for the challenges ahead. A few of the members mentioned that they mentored students at Eagle Academy. Antonio Davis, a student at Baruch College, spoke from the heart about how 100 Black Men guided him. After he and a number of students were acknowledged, 100 Black Men President Michael J. Garner addressed the audience, informing all of the strides the organization made in 2015. Garner said that 100 Black Men fed 12,000 people during the holidays, and gave out $100,000 in scholarships.
Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the audience, praising One Hundred Black Men for their work in NYC. While the focus was on economic empowerment, de Blasio also mentioned a few political accomplishments of his administration. He talked about how he wanted to deal with structural racism, and how it was personal for him. De Blasio noted that Stop and Frisk was down 93 percent. In addition, the mayor spoke of Universal Pre-Kindergarten as an achievement as well. Then, in keeping with the focus of the gala, DeBlasio spoke of the necessity of city government playing a role in facilitating economic opportunities. Namely, the opportunity for Minority and Women owned Business Enterprises to obtain contracts with the city. DeBlasio stated that the city has certified 4100 MWBE’s to date, and that the goal is to award 16 Billion dollars in contracts to these businesses.
Among the other guests and honorees were Horace Barker of Morgan Stanley, District Attorney Cyrus Vance, and George W. Brooks of UPS. Monifa Bandele was also recognized, receiving the Betty Shabazz Community Service Award. Bandele took the occasion to issue a call to action. “Either we advance the movement, or stand in the way.” A political strategist and the director at Moms Rising, she called for an end to mass incarceration. Towards the end of the night, the organizers read a proclamation from Public Advocate Letitia James, further edifying the work of 100 Black Men. To find out more about 100 Black Men, visit their Facebook page.