Appreciation and Advocacy

Sheneika Smith of Date My City (center), with Niobe (left) and Sharissa (right) of Word on the Street/LaVoz de Los Jovenes at Xpand Fest. Photo by Ami Worthen. 

On Saturday, Sheneika Smith of Date My City hosted a Community Media Mixer at Xpand Fest. We heard from Johnnie Grant of the Urban News, DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers, and K.P. Whaley of Asheville FM. They told personal stories and explained how their platforms intentionally give voice to members of our community who may otherwise go unheard. I’m grateful for their work.

During the Mixer, two members of Word on the Street/La Voz de Los Jovenes, Niobe and Sharissa, performed in addition to being interviewed. These young women were incredibly impressive. They spoke of finding self confidence, owning their place in the world, and their dreams for the future.

Here’s a video with excerpts of their performances, enjoy:

I celebrate the many ways that Word On The Street is nurturing young talent in our community. I will continue learning from and supporting their squad members.

move money
Move the Money, Fund Communities

Advocacy: Asheville City Council 

There will be a “City Budget Teach” on Tuesday, June 12 at 12:30 pm on the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Stage in front of City Hall.

From Beloved Asheville: On Tuesday, June 19, “our City Council will decide how we spend 180 million dollars of our tax money! Those decisions affect the day to day lives of at least 90,000 people! This is one of the biggest and most influential uses of power that City Council makes all year. It is the moment when Council puts their values into action through how and where money is allocated.

Do you want more money for access, equity, and affordability?

Currently, the budget gives 2 million dollars more​ towards more police officers. This moves Asheville into the 2nd highest policed city in the state (having way more police than the national average for cities our size).

However, Council could make a different choice. We could allocate more funds towards equity, fare free transit, higher raises to all low level City employees, or fund a participatory budget where the community gets to decide on projects to be funded. Council could be more fiscally responsible instead of pulling funds from reserves.

Come learn more and raise your voice for a People’s Budget!”

If you can’t make the teach-in, you can still write City Council. I also want to remind you to let City Council know that you support the police reforms passed at their May 22 meeting. More on that here, and in this Letter to the Editor.

support the wnc9
Support the #WNC9

Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) is collecting signatures from business owners, educators, and faith leaders for letters directed to Congressman Meadows and Senator Thom Tillis. The letters ask them to intervene on behalf of nine people, detained during the April ICE raids in WNC, who still being held. You can click here to find all three letters and to sign the one that applies to you (if any).


Reality Check Conference

Youth development programs My Daddy Taught Me That and My Sistah Taught Me That are hosting a conference on Friday, June 29 that will feature talks by nationally known anti-racist educators Tim Wise and Jane Elliot and a number of local African American leaders. It promises to be an enlightening day.

As the organizers describe it: “The Reality Check Conference is designed to encourage, empower, and educate leaders across Western North Carolina and surrounding areas on the cultural diversity challenges within our community. This conference will continue the conversation around building a better community and decreasing the gaps in disparities, education, and other social factors that play into the cultural divide of the community and city at large. Participants will also learn about local initiatives and key players who are active and directly involved in our community.”

The conference is a fundraiser for MDTMT and MSTMT. Click here to find out more and to register, and look for my upcoming story about Reality Check in the Mountain Xpress.

Delta House Life Development

Delta House Life Development of Asheville recently posted a video about their program, with an interview with founder and president Shirley Whitesides. Check it out to learn about the opportunities and care they provide for children in our community:

Thank You and an Invitation

As always, thanks for reading! And thanks to subscriber Stevie Alverson for letting me know that, of everything she subscribes to, “I think yours might be the only one I sit and take the time to read on a consistent basis. You’ve mastered the perfect combo of ‘just right’ frequency and engaging content.” That means so much to me to hear, as I strive to provide what I hope is a useful tool for our collective movement towards liberation.

If you find these posts useful, please consider contributing financially to help me continue to be able to invest the time to create them. You can become a patron on Patreon for as little as $3 a month, or make a one-time donation via PayPal or a credit card. You can also help maintain momentum by sharing these writings with others.

Shout out and infinite thanks and love to my current patrons: JMPRO TV, Desiree Adaway, Amy Mandel, Alli Marshall, Amanda Hollinger, Kathryn Liss, Nicole Townsend, Jennifer Worthen, Jay Hill, Hilary Chiz, Heather Talley, Emily Alderman, Jason Krekel, Ursula Gullow, Ashley Cooper, Grayson Morris, Organic Armor, Kim Roney, David Lybrand, Kate Shem, Michael Collins, Erica Bell, Angi West, John Shoop, Kari Sickenberger, Sekou Coleman, Brandee Boggs, J. Clarkson, Bright Planning, Krista Shows, and Ariel Shumaker. You all help keep these posts flowing!

Peace and love.