Sitting here in the center of 2017, I am pausing to reflect on my work thus far this year, and what I have planned. As I gain more subscribers (thank you all), I feel it is important to put my writings here in the context of my other efforts.
Hood Huggers International
For the past 2+ years, I’ve had the honor of working for Hood Huggers, which was founded by DeWayne Barton with the goal of “Rebuilding Affrilachia” using a number of innovative strategies. I helped build the administrative and marketing infrastructure for the organization, including our Hood Tours of African American neighborhoods in Asheville. These days I maintain the Hood Huggers website, social media, coordinate PR/marketing efforts and assist with events (such as Ancestors in the Garden, pictured). Click here to read a recent story about Hood Tours that was published on Hyperallergic.
Darin Waters, Ph.D.
My work for Dr. Waters includes managing an online presence for his writing, research, and speaking well as the Waters & Harvey Show radio show/podcast. Darin is an intellectual force that has greatly influenced my own thinking and study. I am also providing assistance on the planning of UNC Asheville’s 4th Annual African Americans in WNC Conference, which will be October 19 – 21. Save the Dates!
Each month I write an article or compile the content for Buncombe County’s page in the Urban News. I also connect with various community-based initiatives that are helping to tip the scales towards positive outcomes. Speaking of Buncombe County, I encourage you to click here to read about the projects that have been awarded Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment Grants. They are all so impressive! From the County, “Each of the applications reflected significant community efforts to build stronger pipelines for educational and economic opportunity…The funding for these grants, through Health and Human Services, is focused on addressing trauma and building resiliency within communities.” (Pictured: Members of ABIPA.)
WRES Sweet 16 Banquet Honoring John R. Hayes
Another date to mark in your calendar is August 19, for the WRES FM Sweet 16 Banquet Honoring John R. Hayes, which will be held at the AB Tech/Mission Health Conference Center at 7 pm. I am very proud to be a part of the team coordinating this event. Celebrate WRES-lp 100.7 FM’s 16 years on the air and Elder Hayes’ countless contributions to our community. Tickets are available at the station (91 Patton Ave.) and will be available online at wresfm.com soon. Contact me if your business or organization would like to sponsor the event. Proceeds will go to support the Empowerment Resource Center and WRES. (Photo of Elder Hayes by Makeda Sandford.)
Sheneika for Asheville
Sheneika is one of my dearest friends and biggest inspirations. I wholeheartedly support her bid for a seat on Asheville City Council, and am contributing as I can to her campaign. You can too via sheneikaforasheville.com.
Music and Freelance Writing
Playing shows with my band Krekel and Whoa and doing freelance writing when I can (mostly for the Mountain Xpress) round out my professional life these days. And of course I put a few hours each week into these blog posts.
In the works is Puentes Village PR, a new business venture with Kimberly Hunter and Victor Palomino which I am very very excited about. Also, in August, I get to be on the staff for Alternate ROOTS‘ annual ROOTS Week. Stoked about that, too.
A Note On Compensation
My current projects are a mix of pro bono and paid work. For my paid work, I take 30% off of my standard rate for people of color. To be honest, balancing my passion for justice/equity with my need for a sustainable level of income is a challenge. Wish me luck finding the sweet spot!
That’s my mid-year update! Let me know if you have any questions.
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