Vision, Mission, and Core Values
Be Present’s roots are traced to nationally recognized trainer and social change activist Lillie P. Allen’s groundbreaking Black & Female: What is the Reality?TM Workshop at the First National Conference on Black Women’s Health Issues held in 1983 in Atlanta, GA. In 1988, a group of African-American women trained by Ms. Allen as self-help group facilitators invited white women and other women of color activists to participate in Sisters & Allies, an 18-month leadership training project. This initiative formed the foundation for Be Present, Inc., which incorporated as a non-profit in 1992.
Men and boys began participating in trainings in 1996, and as of November 2008, they are part of Be Present Inc.'s organizing and governance structures - our Regional Organizing Core Groups and National Board of Directors. This decision completes Be Present's vision to include all people in all aspects of the organization.
We are a diverse network of people willing to risk being different with one another, our families, communities, workplaces and organizations.
We are committed to a process that builds personal and community well-being on the strength of self-knowledge rather than on the distress of oppression.
Because we believe that enduring progressive change begins with and is sustained by persistent personal growth, we bring to people a model for personal and organizational effectiveness which replaces silence with information, assumptions with a diversity of insights, and powerlessness with a sense of personal responsibility.
Be Present builds transformative leadership for social justice by:
- Teaching the Be Present Empowerment Model® (BPEM) to strengthen individuals’ self knowledge and capabilities to consciously listen and act in all aspects of their lives.
- Providing intensive training and ongoing systems of support to build leadership skills, knowledge, and abilities.
- Maintaining a diverse national network of locally organized and connected communities to sustain a more integrated and comprehensive approach to capacity building for social justice.
- Collaborating with other nonprofits advancing a more resilient and equitable society
Be Present believes that in order to create peace and justice for all people, it is everyone’s responsibility to critically examine the impact of race, gender, class, and power issues on the effectiveness of the social change movement. It is from this understanding that we build better leadership models and create healthier systems that sustain us. We are, and must recognize ourselves as, an integral part of what is and what must be changed. When we do, we are better able to take responsibility and model a new way to promote peace and work toward justice.
A Participative Culture: Be Present views participation as an end in itself, so we take the time to develop and enhance the skills, knowledge and abilities of individuals. Our organizational structure develops diverse leaders at the grassroots level by insuring that all voices are actively involved in crafting the policies and programs that guide the organization. It serves as a replicable model for many nonprofit organizations.
Inclusiveness: Be Present develops leaders from a broad range of communities and consciously works to foster participation among groups that have been “absent from the table,” including communities of color, low-income people, women, and youth.
Intersection of the Issues: Be Present addresses the myriad ways that racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of oppression manifest themselves within our homes, organizations, and communities.
Social Justice Movement Building: Be Present builds movements grounded in relationships; stimulates open dialogue and authentic participation; and fosters diverse leaders able to sustain effective alliances focused on systemic change.