Monday, March 21, 2011

From Civil Rights to Economic and Environmental Justice: Ongoing Organizing in the African American Community

Compiled by Aissia Richardson


"We are dedicated to the principle that relationships of respect, compassion, and integrity are the building blocks of personal and global harmony. We hold that democracy is not just a political system but also a personal commitment—a continual exercise in freedom of conscience, thought, and moral responsibility expressed through humane deeds. We seek to promote personal moral development and social responsibility through direct assistance, social action, and public advocacy."

This except is from a statement on where Ethical Culture/Ethical Humanism stands at the beginning of the 21st century. Adopted by the National Leader’s Council of the American Ethical Union, November 1, 2008

The perception that organizing in the African American community began with the Civil Rights Movement is a false one. Organizing began when slaves were brought to America. Whether it was forming churches, working to raise funds to free themselves and family members, creating escape plans on the Underground Rail Road, leading mass uprisings against slave owners or starting the Abolitionist Movement, organizing in the African American community is an ongoing effort to attain equity in America. In the Philadelphia region several African American organizations are addressing Food Justice/Sovereignty such as Chester's Community Grocery Co-op, Economic Justice for the formerly incarcerated such as X-Offenders for Community Empowerment and Overbrook Environmental Education Center which is at the forefront of the burgeoning Environmental Justice movement in low income and communities of color. In addition to the groups mentioned above the African American United Fund employs the organizing strategy of resource and capacity building to empower its constituents and Frator Heru Institute uses the cultural empowerment organizing model to foster social change.

4th Annual Philly Spring Clean Up

African American United Fund is participating in the 4th Annual Philly Spring Clean Up on Sat., April 2 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Residents, businesses and community groups will join with volunteers to clean up a six square block area in North Philadelphia from Susquehanna to York and Carlisle to Park Avenue.

Philadelphia, PA, March 21, 2011: African American United Fund is joining with several dozen community groups across the City of Philadelphia to partner with the Streets Department to make our city beautiful by cleaning lots and removing debris from our neighborhood. The Philly Spring Clean Up will be held on Saturday, April 2, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Volunteers will meet at the African American United Fund’s Conference Center, 2231 N. Broad Street at 9am to receive their assignments.

The Philly Spring Clean was made possible by a generous donation of supplies by The City of Philadelphia. This activity is one of many neighborhood revitalization projects AAUF has hosted or sponsored on North Broad Street. The African American United Fund is partnering with Blues Babe Foundation, City Year and the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation to clean the following blocks in North Central Philadelphia…

Broad and Susquehanna to York (North and South)
13th Street to 15th Street on Susquehanna
13th Street to 15th Street on Dauphin
2200 Block of Carlisle
2200 Block of Watts
2200 Block of Park Avenue

Grand as Parents (G.A.P.’s) relocates to North Broad St.

After fifteen productive years G.A.P.’s moves from the Church of the Advocate to the African American United Fund office building
Philadelphia, PA, March 21, 2011: The African American United Fund is delighted to announce that Grands as Parents has relocated to 2227 N. Broad Street from its previous home at the Church of the Advocate.

G.A.P's was formed in 1996 to assist, support, and advocate for the rights of grandparents. This advocacy focuses on creating changes in our society to ensure that children grow fruitfully into adulthood. The name G.A.P.'s was chosen to signify the way grandparents replace the gaps of parenthood in grandchildren's lives.

Eileen Brown, President G.A.P.'s says, “We’ve found a new home at AAUF. Invitations are being sent now for an Open House on April 9, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at the AAUF Conference Center, 2231 N. Broad St, to announce the move. Our supporters can reach us at the same phone number (215) 236-4889, we’ve just moved to a better location on Broad Street.”

Wayne Jacobs, Board member, African American United Fund and Executive Director/Founder of X-Offenders for Community Empowerment says, “This is a great addition to the services and programs provided by the organizations located in the African American United Fund office building. Grandparents provide stability for the children of many formerly convicted people. Our social change models are the same…advocacy, services, programs and issue oriented education to increase opportunities for the formerly convicted as well as grandparents raising their children.”

AAUF is celebrating its 30 years of continuous service to the African American community in Pennsylvania. It raises funds to support the growth, development and empowerment of the African American community and in turn, society at large. The Fund provides vital support to many organizations that focus on the social, economic and cultural issues facing our community.

Through our incubator space, the Fund provides reduced rent to organizations so they can focus funding on their programs. Organizations that receive support are the Fraternal Order of Housing Police, the Neighborhood Leader, One World Bar, IT Services, St. Gabriel’s System Conflict Resolution program, the Uptown Entertainment & Development Corporation and X-Offenders for Community Empowerment.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Temple University Art Students - Show your Art!

African American United Fund is seeking artists (multimedia, print, film, ceramic, textile, glass, sculpture, etc.) to create installations in an outdoor setting in North Philadelphia between July 2011 and September 2011. We are particularly interested in working with Temple University students.

Please contact Aissia Richardson at 215-454-2583 by phone or at by email if you're interested in having your work shown to the public.

Deadline to provide your installation concept is June 30.

Aissia Richardson, President
African American United Fund
2227 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132
215-454-2583 phone/fax
Twitter: akoben
You can find AAUF on MySpace and Facebook too!

2011 Philly Spring Clean Up

For the third straight year, AAUF has been selected as a Philly Spring Clean Up project. The Clean Up will take place on April 2, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Volunteers will assemble at at 2231 N. Broad Street at 9:00 AM to receive their assignments.

Clean up locations are :

Broad and Susquehanna to York (North and South)

13th Street to 15th Street on Susquehanna

13th Street to 15th Street on Dauphin

2200 Block of Carlisle

2200 Block of Watts

2200 Block of Park Avenue

Please see the link below or more information and to register for our site. Click on "Filter by Neighborhood" and scroll down to North Philadelphia to find our site description.

100 volunteers are needed for our clean up on April 2.

For details about this event or questions, call 215-454-2583

The area selected for beautification is mixed commercial and residential.

AAUF operates a conference center that serves as a community center which offers conflict resolution classes during the week, cooking and nutrition classes on the weekend and services for the formerly convicted monthly.

Empty lots on the block are in need of cleaning. Lots can be used for farmer’s markets, to green neighborhood and for urban farming initiatives. AAUF has recently successfully partnered with the following organizations: Alliance of Black Social Workers, Club Valiants, Inc., DNA Connect, Grands As Parents, International Caucus of Women of the African Diaspora, Institute for the Development of African American Youth, Men United for a Better Philadelphia, Philadelphia Doll Musuem, Uptown Entertainment & Development Corporation and X-Offenders for Community Empowerment.

Over the past two years, AAUF formed a partnership with Urban Design Studio to create landscaping and architectural drawings to create a sustainably built, raised bed garden to grow fresh produce and to be used as a demonstration model for residential gardens.