Kristen Graham | The Philadelphia Inquirer
Black male teachers in Philadelphia would reach out to [Sharif El-Mekki] periodically, asking to talk about the often lonely spot in which they found themselves. El-Mekki didn’t go out looking for peers—they all gravitated toward one another.
The dinners at 48th Street Grille began—talks about how to get beyond being pigeonholed as disciplinarians, about what it’s like to be constantly called upon to be experts on black culture or diversity, about how to bring their experiences to the table without being viewed as “hardheaded and uncoachable,” as El-Mekki said. Eventually, the group formalized its work into the fellowship, now a nonprofit with 50 paid members.