B.Michael was a staunch supporter of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. On December 1, 1996, B.Michael and six other brothers, organized the first Brothers for Sisters fundraising event in New York City. In the above photo, (L-R) Michael Seltzer (standing), Don Kao, Mitchell Karp, B.Michael, Lidell Jackson, Ralph Tachuk, John Manzon-Santos (standing).
Artists G. Winston James and What I Miss? contributor Jacquie Bishop generously donated their time as special guests.
Below is the same post-event scene as above, snapped a millisecond later, enough time for B.Michael to cock his head slightly; also B.Michael with Steven Birnbaum, one of the evening’s guests, a new contact brought in by Don Kao.
B.Michael attended law school and he taught the U.S. Constitution to high school students who came from marginalized backgrounds. The right to vote was a tantamount issue for him, particularly as a Black man. Every election is important — and he would be organizing folks with even more passion toward Election Day on 03 November 2020.
It is unclear at what point in B.Michael’s life he jotted the page below. It does seem to include the makings of a poem:
I ain’t you property
I am not your property
I will lift my voice and vote
One of B.Michael’s first jobs after leaving IBM was with the Church Avenue Merchant Block Association (rebranded officially as CAMBA the way KFC no longer refers to its Kentucky origins).
Within two weeks of submitting his first report below, as B.Michael told it, the day before the end of the end of his three-month probationary period, he was called into the office of the executive director, a white woman who, according to the CAMBA website in 2020, is still in the position 30 years later. He had been receiving subtle messages that his vision for the program was not well-received and that he was not a fit. As he suspected, he was informed that he would be let go. Without missing a beat, B.Michael conveyed something to the effect of, “What’s your offer (to have me go away and not file a discrimination complaint with the NYC Human Rights Commission)?”