Vincent Cobb II and Rashiid Coleman are the founders behind The Black Male Educators Convening, an organization on a mission to triple the number of highly-effective black male teachers in Philadelphia public schools to 1,000 by 2025.

Through a series of programs including a yearly conference, purpose career fair, two-year paid summer program, and membership alliance for black male educators, BMEC is sending a clear message: only 2% of teachers are black and male—and it’s not enough.

On Oct. 12 – 14, the second annual BMEC conference will be held to advance and celebrate the development, recruitment, and retention of black male educators. This year’s lineup includes Marc Lamont Hill, a journalist, author, activist, and television personality; Dr. Chris Emdin, an associate professor and author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… And the Rest of Y’all Too; Ericka Pittman, chief marketing officer at Aquahydrate Inc; Shavar Jeffries, American civil rights attorney, and more. In the midst of planning the conference, we caught up with the founders to learn more about their plans to increase the percentage of black male teachers in Philadelphia and beyond.