T. Rashad Byrdsong is the founder and chief executive officer of the unique community-based organization Community Empowerment Association (CEA) that has served over 25,000 individuals, youth and families in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. He simultaneously acts as the President and CEO of MA’AT Construction Group, an enterprise that has trained and/or employed over 1,000 individuals from black, distressed communities around the city. Coveted international speaker, and published author, his commitment to empowering the lives of African Americans has garnered him countless professional awards and accolades over the past 25 years.
As a life-long revolutionary activist, and social entrepreneur, Byrdsong is focused on achieving social justice by building institutions that create tangible benefits in African American communities suffering from poverty, racial discrimination, and other systemic disparities. His personal mission to restore, reclaim, and transform these underserved communities through strategic planning, collaboration, advocacy, education, and mobilization are informed by his experiences in the civil rights struggle, combat service in Vietnam, and membership in the Black Panther Party.
A long-standing pillar within the community, C.E.A. is structured around Byrdsong’s own Afrocentric intervention paradigm–an empowerment approach that recaptures the resiliency of families by equipping them with the necessary tools to move towards self-determination, self-sufficiency and stability. This method was developed alongside his work with the National Urban Peace and Justice Council, an initiative that has for over two-decades, served gang members and at-risk youth by negotiating peace treaties, reuniting families, and guiding their process from adolescence to adulthood.
Byrdsong defies institutionally boundaries in the interest of building national, multi-faceted social justice coalitions. These diverse experiences most recently informed his development of the Public Health Approach to Violence Reduction, a culturally-specific model which has been adopted by the Allegheny County Commission on Gun Violence.
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Byrdsong is available for speaking engagements and consultations at your institution. Byrdsong shares his organizing and activist experience by giving speeches, serving as a panelist, and working as a consultant.