A Vision Becoming a Movement- Perry Varner leads Project H.O.P.E.


What is HOPE?

H.O.P.E is an acronym which means Helping Our People Evolve. It is a development project of the Black Male Empowerment Movement. More importantly it’s a collaborative effort by many successful Men of Color from around the River Region who made a declaration to stand together to offer some positive impact to our community more specifically our young men.


What inspired this endeavor?

The vast increase in violent crimes amongst African-American males that Montgomery as well as other cities is experiencing is mainly what inspired this movement. It is our best attempt to offer some positive impact and hopefully formidable resolutions. I think certain life skills are the necessary foundation for success.


When is HOPE and how can the community get involved?

Project H.O.P.E’s Black Male Empowerment Movement and Positive Impact Expo will be held in historic downtown Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday July 27, 2013 from 12pm -8pm. More than 60 businesses where black men have leadership roles or have influence on the products and services will participate as well as motivational speakers from the NFL to Politicians as well as many civic & social services that cater to the needs of our community and our youth. We just need the community to attend in large numbers and enjoy the efforts of our hard work. Most importantly with the recent Trayvon Martin verdict we need our young men to come learn valuable life skills like conflict/resolution, proper social etiquette, self-respect, and healthy expression.


Will H.O.P.E become an annual event?

Project H.O.P.E will be an annual event. More importantly soon after the July Expo we plan to introduce H.O.P.E Leadership;  a September-May development & placement program designed to offer lifeskills, support and outreach services. Services will be available to young black men ages 8-18 years old 365 days a year with options for afterschool, Saturday learning, trips, summer camps and more.


What are my future plans for H.O.P.E?

First, to establish the Project H.O.P.E brand and the Black Male Empowerment Movement as a nationally recognized template for successfully  producing model citizens through proven life skills, development and mentoring programs tailored specifically for men of color not only in Montgomery, AL but other cities as well who demonstrate a similar need.


How many people do you expect to attend?

It is our goal to service as many youth needs and their families in the River Region. Ideally we’d love for 5,000 to 10,000 people to take advantage of this great opportunity to register for upcoming H.O.P.E leadership and for adults to register to volunteer. They can always join at Black Male Empowerment Movement on Facebook or by calling us at 334-625-1188.


Besides H.O.P.E, what do you do?

Everything I do professionally falls within the scope of marketing/design. I was Creative Director of Style Experience for the past 10 years.  I just spent the past two years teaching design to high school students in the inner city of  New York at the Harlem Children Zone under the leadership of Mr. Geoffery Canda one of the leaders of the tailored learning environment systems for black students, which is where I discovered my passion for developing young people. I am also Creative Director of MOCA Magazine a professional lifestyle online magazine for Men of Color www.mocamag.com  and as I return to Montgomery my goal is to establish a new  Style Experience showroom selling mens clothing and furnishings.