Good News for the New Year

For my first Asheville Action post of 2016, I want to share some positive stories with you. As I thought about what to include, I happily discovered a plethora of things to celebrate. It reminded me of the power of looking for forward movement, even as injustices continue to pile up. So while this is not a comprehensive list, it’s an uplifting one. Enjoy the inspiration, and let’s keep shining light on the good stuff while we continue in the struggle.

Social justice through food: The legacy of Hanan Shabazz
Click here to read this Mountain Xpress feature about Ms. Hanan’s fascinating life and inspiring work with the GO! Kitchen Ready program.
“These days, Shabazz focuses on what she calls ‘social justice through food: Help somebody, feed somebody, share your knowledge, share your understanding.'”


Person of the Week: Mirian Porras
Click here to watch this WLOS TV13 feature about Marian Porras’ work with the Latino community in Asheville, including her work with the Raíces program for elementary school students. Click here to follow her organization, Nuestro Centro, on Facebook – that page is a great place to learn about the latest issues and actions related to immigration rights and more.
“‘They have a right to know their background,'” Porras said. “They have a right to be proud of it and from their they can share and they can live with other communities.'”


The Bigger Picture
Click here to read the Asheville Blade story about the Isaiah Rice Photography collection, a “recently-unveiled collection of photos [which] reveals a new look at black and working class Asheville in the 20th century, and adds a major chapter to the city’s history.”
“’What’s revealed is how vibrant and alive the African-American middle-class was,’ [Gene] Hyde says of the ‘chasm’ in the historical record Rice’s photos help to fill. ‘Largely when we view Appalachia in the 20th century we don’t think about the fact that there was a thriving, urban African-American middle class. That’s off the radar. This brings it up in beautiful detail with lots of humanity.’”
from isiah rice photography collection

Crime and employment: Asheville ‘banning the box’
Click here to read the Citizen-Times story about the City of Asheville’s decision to eliminate any question about criminal convictions from most job applications. This decision by one of Asheville’s biggest employers is a step in the right direction towards addressing racial disparities in criminal justice and economics.
“[City Council member Keith] Young sees the issue as one of fairness, pointing out that African-Americans make up a disproportionately large segment of the prison population. Even if the city hasn’t discriminated through the criminal history question, the question is discriminatory, he said. ‘It hurts a lot of young people. It hurts a lot of people of color.'”

Successful December Events
Bringing some December goodness into the new year, I want to share photos from two great events that happened in December, Date My City‘s “Who’s Who & Who’s New in Black Asheville” and Hood Huggers International‘s Kwanzaa celebration: Click here to see photos from Date My City’s “Who’s Who & Who’s New in Black Asheville” event. And click here for photos of Hood Huggers International’s The Art of Resilience Kwanzaa celebration.
grassroots leaders

Let it Be Yours
And last but not least, Let It Be Yours is a brand new blog launched by a hip collection of creatives, including photographer/writer Makeda Sandford (pictured below). Go to to check it out.

Thanks for reading!