Who wouldn’t want to live in a community grounded in justice, equal opportunity, love of one’s neighbor and inclusion?
The Bexley Minority Parent Alliance started in the summer of 2015 in hopes of influencing Bexley policies to align to that goal, which was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of the “Beloved Community.”
Jonathan Baker, former president of the BMPA, recalls that, “a group of Bexley families with children of all ages gathered together at Jeffrey Park with the intention of building community among families with children who are underrepresented in the schools and district staff, with the added hope of affecting positive change in our district.”
BMPA strategizes with the district to better understand why an opportunity gap exists between minority and white students and to create programming that moves these students away from the margins. Baker adds, “We want the minority children to leave Bexley with post-high-school plans like everyone else. We also want our children to have the same fondness for Bexley that families have who are multi-generational Bexley families. In order to cultivate that fondness, we created opportunities for fellowship and to get to know our neighbors.”
“Our goal is to advocate and influence policies with the City and School District that will ensure minority children have every opportunity to achieve their goals, graduate from high school and leave the city equipped to be 21st Century leaders,” Jonathan says.
Led by its current board, Manika Williams, Jonathan Baker, Ahdra Young, Bryan Drewry (president), India Keith, Tiasha Letostak, and Jessica Willis–with a shout-out to former board member, Natalie Coles–the BMPA is primarily focused on:
- Forming community among families with minority children
- Supporting minority children, families and district personnel
- Advocating on students’ behalf with school and community leaders
- Guiding policy and training decisions
To that end, the BMPA invites its more than 200 members, plus allies, which include Bexley City Schools staff and City of Bexley leaders to events throughout the year that aim to empower traditionally marginalized students and adults.
BMPA continues its monthly planning meetings via Zoom. Typically, in the fall, the BMPA celebrates Hispanic heritage month, hosts a minority teacher recruitment fair, as well as several Culture & Conversation events in collaboration with the Bexley Public Library.
The BMPA’s other key events and initiatives include: the Circle of Excellence (hosted in April, scholarship winners for 2020 were Austin Smith and Angelina Coles, for their work with BARP), ongoing discussion and education around how trauma impacts learning and behavior, implementation of implicit bias training within the school district, quarterly Town Halls with Bexley City Council, various community events done in collaboration with BPL, and ongoing collaboration with other districts in the area to form new affinity groups that support minority children in central Ohio.
BMPA welcomes everyone in the community who believes in their mission to join, to help with their personal expertise, and to have fun together!
— Nichole Eshelbrenner for Bexley Living Magazine, Sept. 2020 issue