SHEBOYGAN — The Black-American Community Outreach is one of Sheboygan’s newest organizations, formed in June. Since then, the group has been hosting pop-up community barbecue events to unite the city.
We stopped by last week’s event and chatted with its president Michael Thomas to find out more about the organization and its mission in the community.
What is the Black-American Community Outreach?
Black-American Community Outreach seeks to empower and uplift the community in which we life. That’s our mission statement.
Just the other week we had our first barbecue and there was a family walking by. We said ‘Hey, come on over and get some free food,’ and they said, ‘Well, we’re not Black.’ You don’t have to be Black. Our mission is to empower and uplift the entire community. So, if you’re part of this community, we want to be a blessing and a servant to you.
Who is involved in the group?
I intentionally reached out to a number of professionals amongst the Black community in Sheboygan, and I stressed the need for leadership and bringing the community - the city of Sheboygan - together, creating unity and peace and education.
Everyone was pretty much on board, so we started doing a number of things in the community. We’ve seeing a lot of success and a lot of excitement and momentum because of it all.
One of the group’s emphases is its partnership with the City of Sheboygan and the Sheboygan Police Department. Why is that so important?
The police department are servants of the community, and we look to be servants of the community, so it’s only right that we would have a partnership with the biggest servants that are out there. That includes the city, from the mayor to the aldermen and so on.
If we want the city of Sheboygan to be a better place, it’s only right that we work together. We want to make all different types of partners - with churches, with other organizations like the Lions Club and the Sheboygan Jaycees. We’re all about the community and uniting it.
What are the goals of the organization?
We want to provide education, we’re looking to provide diversity and equity education amongst the city in different organizations, business, factories and eventually, we want to do more mentorship.
For the youth, we want to do leadership training. We want to have classes where parents can have different tools to parent their children or teach them how to conduct themselves in job interviews. One day we hope to have money where we’re just giving out scholarships to kids that have great grades and are going to college one day. We want to help them be successful. There’s tons of things that we want to do.