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Black Brothers Esteem Member Spotlight: Stanley Allison

Black Brothers Esteem member Stanley Allison shares his experience as a regular volunteer for BBE and why stays involved with the group.

Stanley is a long-time member of Black Brothers Esteem (BBE). He is a regular, dedicated volunteer for many in-person outreach and community events. He took time to join the BBE Outreach Meeting to give us his perspective, share why he volunteers, and tell us about his time with BBE.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved with Black Brothers Esteem?

Photo courtesy of Stanley Allison

My name is Stanley F. Allison, and I am a “seasoned senior” of 64. I first learned about BBE through my friend, James, who bugged me for 2 years to come. To appease him I finally went, and I’ve been coming ever since.

What was it about BBE that appealed to you?

The brotherhood. In college I was an Omega Psi Phi, and they also emphasized community (especially black brotherhood.) I didn’t always feel everyone in BBE, but ones that I did, we really clicked, and it really made me stay. There was a sense of community and true brotherhood.

Tell us about the outreach, community work, and volunteerism that you have done with BBE and some of the outreach, community work, volunteerism, and activism that you’ve done in general.

With BBE: a lot of tabling at different events “A LOT!” The last one being the wonderful BBE 25th anniversary.  I used to do outreach with my fraternity, tabling at Juneteenth, toy drives for needy kids and so on… I’m no longer active but I’m a lifelong member and will always be.

What inspired you to get involved with outreach/community work?

Considering how I lived my life, I felt that it was a blessing that I survived everything that I went through and that I lived to be this age. I felt like I wanted to give back however I could.

What are some insights that you have learned working with BBE and doing community-based work?

Oh wow! One thing: how to interact with people. Coming to BBE I’ve met a very diverse cross-section of people. Some I never would have otherwise – or been friendly with. I was sheltered, But I got to know many different types of people here at BBE’s Phoenix Rising group. How to interact and meet people where they are. And whether I agree with someone or not–I learned to hear and listen to what they have to say.

I’ve never been around people that use drugs, but I learned they’re just people like me and you. We all make love, go to bathroom—they’re just people. I learned to get out of my comfort zone and be more available and open minded. One thing I’m also still working on–and that my BBE mentors, Jamal, the late Karl, Shawn, and Micah showed me–was to learn to let things go.

I also learned how to interact for 4 years at the leadership table. I never had a desire, but one day Micah said, “No, I don’t need you down here, I need you up there.” I really had no desire or thoughts to do it, but I’m glad I did.

What are some tips or words of advice that you would share with the Outreach Team?

To be generous, not just with your time but with resources. If you have something you can share, share it with people. Just live, and let live. Learn to balance your time (and your words.) Yes, balance is very important in everything that one does.

Anything else you would like us to know?

Just how much I enjoy this group. I’m not always a proud member, but I truly believe in its purpose. Hopefully for another 10 years at least–maybe not 25 (*laughs*).

So you mentioned being generous, with time and resources. In your time with BBE – How have generous acts inspired you to pay it forward?

Easy one–during this month! Like when my late husband was alive. I gave a big Thanksgiving feast at my villa for 4 years. Some folks in this room were there as well. It was something me and John wanted to do, and I loved offering another small Thanksgiving this year for BBE folks. It’s my favorite holiday.

I feel like you’re being a bit humble. You’ve done a ton of BBE outreach. Is there a favorite outreach event that you’ve volunteered for?

I always, always enjoy the MLK Day event (at Yerba Buena Park.) I really enjoyed the last one we went to before the pandemic–I think in 2019.  I got to reunite with a former coworker I hadn’t seen in YEARS and we’ve been in touch ever since. I haven’t done, and never will do Folsom though… but I always enjoy doing Juneteenth… I’ve never had a bad experience doing a tabling event.

Here’s what the Outreach Team shared about Stanley:

“I appreciate Stanley so much! You have taken your place as resident record keeper. Always contentious, always sharing birthday messages and wishes (on Facebook) for BBE and church members. I can’t imagine how much time it takes you. It’s really such a great way of bringing people together and sharing love. Those sorts of things make the team work.”

“I love that you always bring whatever gifts you have. You do A LOT more than what you fess up to, but you’re being modest.”

Stanley: Thank you. I enjoy celebrating friends and former coworkers. I’m an English major, I love to write, and I have a gift for words. I try not to forget a birthday, it’s my way of giving back. I love celebrating peoples’ creation days.

Thank you so very much Stanley. For this interview, your time, and efforts with BBE. It was such a delight.