Men in the Mid-Atlantic Area are meeting as Brothers Building Bridges Together (BBBT): An ongoing Dialog on Race, Diversity and Inclusion. In this article, Paul Fogarty takes time to write about BBBT and what the group hopes to accomplish.

Our Intention:

To build a safe, courageous, honest place of collaboration and dialog creating a more inclusive and diverse community. We all have personal work to do, but the time for ‘going it alone’ is over. Community means we stay in the conversation and occasional discomfort until we become what we seek… hearing and respecting one another ever more deeply.

close-up of Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Public Domain.

Our Journey:

Starting in December 2017, five men came together independently seeking others who wanted to be in an ongoing dialog about race, inclusion, community and living out our MKP, New Warrior ideal of Inclusion with Courage and Compassion. There has been pain, shame and anger in this discussion over many years but that is not WHO we are or want to be as New Warriors. Mostly there has been love, respect, listening, laughter and sharing in this journey. On February 17th, 28 men participated in a three hour gathering. (Over a hundred men RSVP’d!!!). We asked and answered questions. The four smaller circles came up with a set of commitments about how to hold future dialog so more men could enter and remain in conversation, community and connection even when things got heated.

A number of men are still engaged in the process of crafting a list of commitments to serve our inter-group dialog between Men of Color and Euro-Americans (aka white/aspiring ‘allies’). We confronted, accused, confessed, judged and faced one another and then we sat in four small, diverse circles to get to know one another a bit better. When we were done the men in attendance decided to continue the conversation more widely. Twenty men joined an ongoing team as facilitators of dialog. Those men chose to carry the torch forward to the Mid-Atlantic Area and agreed to host two more face to face circles. These occurred on April 14th and April 23rd. At our last event we discussed continuing the conversation monthly via Zoom, video conference. Hosts for those calls are already in place for the next few months. There are many possibilities for where we go from here. You are invited to join and help guide the conversation.

Activities and Invitation:

To meet this intention we want to insure that all men have a chance to join an ongoing informal group (brothers of Color and Euro brothers together and separately), one that can provide a space for men to ask questions, seek support, receive guidance and challenge limiting beliefs. We do this so that we can learn to hear and respect one another better and serve the larger circle of our MKP brotherhood and beyond. We support our brothers of color to join Warriors of Color United (WOCU) and to meet separately. WOCU has calls on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

We invite all MAA New Warriors of MAA to join this conversation by joining the monthly Zoom calls on the 2nd Tuesdays of each month. Other calls can be set up as men step up to lead.

Our Norms and Core agreements:

  1. The needs of the group surpass the needs of any individual. Do not divert the group to personal agendas or needs. If you need to, step out with support and facilitation and return when you are ready knowing you will be welcome.
  2. Work together by staying in the conversation and refrain from acting alone out of shame, fear or anger. Going alone usually hurts the group more than it helps.
  3. Remember we all are learning the best we can, therefore enter conversations with compassion, seeking to understand one another with humility. Some men have been in this conversation a lot longer and have gifts of perspective to share that can ease the way for others. Respect men’s earned experience and wisdom.

Contact any of these BBBT brothers to ask questions, give feedback and help support the process:
Paul Fogarty – pwfogarty@gmail.com
Bruce Gill – orisabg@gmail.com
Wendell Flowers – owf2md@verizon.net
Prasad Acharya – pacharya@gmail.com
Damian Popkin – ajodapo@gmail.com
Jesse DeCruz – jessedecruz@gmail.com
Marcus Sims – m3four@aol.com
Randy Marks – rmarksftc@yahoo.com
Ron Henderson – ronld.henderson@gmail.com
Charles Wisher – woodchuck85@aol.com
David Torrealba – dtgreyeagle@gmail.com
Juan Carlos Sarabia – dcpr4u@yahoo.com
Matt Dirksen – mattdirksen@gmail.com
Geoff Reed – geeereed@yahoo.com