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Connecting Through the Roots

On October 22, CoThinkk held “Connecting Through the Roots,” a beautiful event where they announced their first grant recipients and presented Community Leadership Awards to four leaders of color and two allies who “play a critical role in the social change ecosystem of Western NC by working to shift the narrative of communities of color.” It was wonderfully fortifying to celebrate some of the great, important work that is happening in our community and to witness CoThinkk’s philanthropic launch.

The leadership awardees were DeWanna Little, Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Carlos Gomez, Joe Greene. The ally awardees were Dawn Chavez and myself (more on that below). Nominees were Philip Cooper, Leslie Council, D’Andre Smith, Stephen Smith, Evelyn Alarcon, Daniel Benavides and Keynon Lake. An impressive group of people to say the least.

The grant recipients were Jonathan Santos/GlocalSoul Edutainment, Ballet Folclórico “Soles de Mexico,” YTL Training Programs, Delia Jovel Dubon, and Youth Movement. These groups received a cash gift as well as capacity development support from CoThinkk. In addition, My Daddy Taught Me That, Partners Unlimited, HERS, and SOS on Institutional Learning received capacity development support. Here are clips from the video grant applications that were submitted, very worth watching:


Ami’s Ally Award

Being honored by CoThinkk was an emotional experience.

These are the remarks I made that night:

meThis room is filled with people who are my heroes, so to stand before you is profoundly humbling. Tonight we are celebrating everyone here –  our huge hearts and kind souls and interminable spirits. I am proud to be a part of this movement with you.

Accepting this award is uncomfortable for me. I do not seek to have light shone on my work. I intentionally stay in the shadows. My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the projects and people I support thrive.

We all give so much towards the greater good, this is a collective effort, and I am deeply inspired by that. It means so much to receive an acknowledgement of my part in our progress. Your affirmation gives me a much needed boost. To be honest, lately I had been withering in the shadows.

So thank you, CoThinkk, for your nourishing light.

I’d also like to express my appreciation for the two people I have collaborated with the most, Sheneika Smith and DeWayne Barton. The world is made better by their visionary and transformative work. And I am made better by their friendship.

And I must thank my sweetheart Jason Krekel for his incredible support. I would be a much less effective ally without him.

Cheers to CoThinkk. Here’s to love and liberation.

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Me, Jason Krekel, and Sheneika Smith. Photo by TY MO.

An Ask

Receiving the CoThinkk award was timely, as I have reached a place in my life where I find myself out of balance. My passion for racial justice led me to focus so much on supporting and celebrating others that I have neglected supporting and celebrating myself.

CoThinkk reminded me that what I do is valuable – not only my pro bono work for organizations like Hood Huggers, but also the frequent meetings I have with folks interested in my insights and network, the times when I serve as a bridge between groups in our community, when I connect people to opportunities, speak up, etc, etc, etc. Many of you have also told me that you find my Asheville Action posts helpful, moving, eye-opening, informative, transformative…

So in the spirit of owning the value of my contributions to our community, I humbly share a PayPal “Donate” button below (or you can click here). As an Asheville Action reader, I would be most grateful if you would consider making a gift to help me continue my writing, fighting, and uniting.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Thank you.