In honor of Black History Month, Family Promise is spotlight Black Family Promise staff members, board members, volunteers, and clergy who are making an impact in their respective communities.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Family Promise Metrowest (MA) executive director Susan Crossley asked members of the Affiliate’s Family Advisory Council for ideas on how to address racial inequality. That’s when Bianca Hudson, the Affiliate’s family coach, introduced the I Am King program to Crossley.
I Am King is a virtual mentorship program for young Black boys hosted by Black men. College-age mentors are paired with middle schoolers, and they meet weekly over a six-week period.
“The program is a space for the boys to understand what it means to be a young man of color,” Hudson, whose son took part in the program, said.
The program is facilitated by the He Is Me Institute, which was founded by Robert Hendricks. Hendricks kickstarted the I Am King program after assuming a school leadership position at Boston High School. The lack of Black male teachers at the school, as well as other institutions he associated with, concerned him. He was compelled to create a pipeline to bring more Black male educators into the classroom.
“I Am King builds ecosystems that give schools and teacher prep programs opportunities to engage Black men,” Hendricks said via the He Is Me Institute website.
The sobering reality of life in the United States is that your race plays a major role in defining your experiences. The homeownership gap between Black and white Americans proves that. I Am King is a crucial program because it equips young boys with tools to begin understanding the realities of modern American life.
“The program is about discovering self-awareness, in terms of racial identity and social-emotional competency, and I knew it would be great for kids at Family Promise,” Hudson said.
The first Family Promise cohort participated in the program in March 2021. Seven families were involved. The second cohort will begin the program this fall.