Less than two (2) percent of our nation’s educators are Black males or male educators of color.

That includes teachers, counselors, deans, principals, paraprofessionals, special education interventionists, P.E. teachers and whatever other infinite titles that impact students in school buildings.

Two percent.

2 out of 100.

Literally millions of Americans (red, yellow, Black or white) have never had a Black male educator.

People hear this figure and think “Damn, that’s not good” but often miss the story of isolation associated with it particularly for Black and brown kids. They don’t think about the eight to twelve hours per day a Black male educator spends at work not interacting with someone of the same affinity or the increased probability of him getting smacked in the forehead by a microaggression from a colleague or the soul-sucking disappointment felt when he realizes the non-existence of any mirrors or role models for the young Black boys in his school building.

It’s a stifling two percent that leads to detachment and ultimately withdrawal from the education field entirely.

But Black male educators are trying to remedy this issue.

 Profound Gentlemen will be host an annual Community Impact Assembly in Charlotte, North Carolina. Over 100 Black male educators travel from Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Memphis, among other cities to discuss topics ranging from toxic masculinity in school buildings to creating a culture of reading for Black boys.

Profound Gentlemen seeks to impact young boys of color through Black males teachers in public schools. The organization also strives to develop the instructional practice of Black male teachers, ultimately giving them the skills and the network needed to have a successful career in education.

The conference is about more than just getting a whole bunch of Black guys getting together in one room to talk about how we need to see more of us next year in an even bigger room, sharing teaching stories or debating the best barbers in our hometowns.

It’s a conference about influence and freedom and love for our community; It’s about encouragement and embrace and love for each other; It’s three days straight of #blackboyjoy.

The weekend aligns to PG’s core pillars of intentional character development, understanding purpose in being an educator, creating mentor groups to support boys of color, and engagement in the community. Intimate community dinners take place on opening night, after a day of school observations and round-table discussions with education leaders.

Black men spend the majority of the conference working and experiencing discomfort, while learning and unlearning side-by-side Black male students. Black boys have the opportunity to hear directly from Black men about how we plan to contribute to our communities and exemplify love towards each other.

We need more spaces like this where we serve as think tanks, and create solutions for our schools, while also creating an environment that offers encouragement and support.

I’m also down for more spaces that afford us the opportunity to be vulnerable, protected and super Black.

Shamar Knight-Justice is an Assistant Principal at Ethos Classical. He spends his days teaching Black and Brown kids how to take over the world, trying not to get yelled at by his wife for leaving twice-worn socks on the living room floor, and jogging slowly through Atlanta (pronounced A-lan-nuuh), Georgia.