Young People and Prayer

Today’s Asheville Action round up…


Hillcrest Youth Initiative
A fundraiser is currently underway for a new program for teens in Hillcrest. The Hillcrest Youth Initiative is a joint project of the Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation and YTL (Youth Transformed for Life), two organizations “committed to the success of disadvantaged youth.” The need for and the value of this program is clear. I salute those who love on our young people. Read on for more information, click here to donate.

“The Hillcrest Youth Initiative (HYI) is dedicated to helping low-income youth achieve long-term success in their lives. Facing academic, social, emotional, and economic challenges, they often have difficulties with school work, interpersonal relationships, and self-confidence. These obstacles prevent them from fully realizing their full potential.

During the school year, HYI will offer a dynamic after-school program for teens in middle school that will nurture intellectual curiosity and artistic expression, build physical fitness, and enhance social and life skills. Youth will learn from local leaders, engage in community service, acquire financial management skills, and create innovative hands-on academic projects.

During the summer months, the students will be able to participate in the G.R.A.C.E. for Teens summer program or the Trailblazer Outdoor Adventure Club that will keep their bodies fit and minds sharp so that they are ready to jump into school work in the fall. These include hiking mountain trails, creating poetry, and expanding their horizons on trips around the region.”

Thanksgiving With Friends on the Street
“BeLoved Asheville (39 S. Grove Street) will be sharing our 7th Annual Thanksgiving feast and music with our friends on the streets and anyone who does not have a place to share the holiday! In solidarity with Standing Rock and the indigenous people of WNC, we will have an emphasis on de-colonizing Thanksgiving. Come for a time with good friends, conversation, games, and music! All are welcome! For more information contact BeLoved at”

prayer processional
Photo from the Asheville Citizen-Times

Faith Communities Provoking Racial Justice Statement of Beliefs About State Sanctioned Violence Against Black and Brown Bodies

November 1, 2016, 6:30 pm – This statement was read by a group of faith leaders from the steps of the Buncombe County Courthouse after a prayer processional through historically significant places in the city: 

“Regardless of its findings, the SBI report on the shooting of Jerry Williams and the status of Sgt. Tyler Radford will not settle, heal or resolve the long-standing pain of violence and injustice which affect the people of Asheville every day—particularly those in our community who are black or brown—for the wounds are deep and disparities experienced daily throughout our community, in our schools, our neighborhoods, our criminal justice system, our economic system and even in our own religious institutions.

As clergy and faith leaders in Asheville, we call on ourselves and our faith communities to be ambassadors of restorative justice and active participants in an urgent quest for racial equity in all these areas of our common life.

We humbly and boldly call on Asheville and Buncombe County to face the hard truths of our racial past, to make amends for past wrongs, and to heal present rifts in our community, which continue to harm and diminish us all.

And we particularly call on all those with formal power in our justice system (elected officials, police officers, lawyers, judges, and others) to undertake a major and sustained effort to change the way the system responds to communities of color, treating everyone equitably and respecting the sanctity of black and brown bodies.

It is our urgent hope that we will tirelessly and lovingly labor together for such a new day and new way of living together in one united community.”

The Center for Participatory Change (CPC) helped organize this event.

Related: You can add your voice to those who are requesting that District Attorney Todd Williams release the SBI report to the public. As my friend Ashley Cooper puts it, “Please let’s help our Black and Brown brothers and sisters not feel so haunted by the ways that these state-sanctioned murderers are allowed free reign to do what they want without any oversight or accountability.”

Heritage Commission Clarification
In my last post, I celebrated the fact that the African American Heritage Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County has been awarded $10,000 by Buncombe County. I also expressed frustration that they had not received any funds prior to that. Since posting, I’ve learned that no boards and commissions receive funding, a fact I was not aware of. Which makes this investment from Buncombe County even more worth celebrating. I also want to acknowledge the advocacy of Holly Jones and Ellen Frost, who requested the inclusion of the African American Heritage Commission in the process of developing the County’s upcoming $75,000 public art project, and then stood their ground when County staff did not honor that request. Click here for that story.

Stand With Standing Rock

Why? Watch this for a start…


And I end this post with love.

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