Dear Friends and Family,
One year ago today, a group of white people gathered together in our backyard to interrogate, disrupt, and reckon with our internalized white supremacy. Over the past year, we have listened to and reflected on the book, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad.
Me and White Supremacy started out as 28-day Instagram challenge, with a different topic and reflection each day, and as a published book it continues the structure of 28 days.
Our group just completed Day 13, and though we are not meeting tonight, next Thursday, July 8, we will repeat Day 13, entitled, You and Cultural Appropriation.
Because how we interrogate, disrupt, and reckon with our internalized white supremacy, matters as much as why we do it.
One characteristic of white supremacy is the sense of urgency—too much to do and too little time to do it—which undermines inclusivity, reflection, thoughtfulness and democratic principles. As a whiteness dialogue group, we made the decision to stay with the topics we resisted the most to explore and expose our unconscious acceptance of the white way being the right way.
And, that brings me to It Takes A Barrio, Part 2.
One thing Homies Empowerment has reinforced for me is the importance of taking time to hear all voices in the group. Even when we are running late to open the FREEdom store, the leaders at Homies always start by circling up the volunteers and staff for a check-in.
It makes a difference. It builds community. It’s worth the time.
And, in this excerpt of an email from Homies, you’ll see what I mean:
Your donation is a prayer answered and a blessing for us. It is major. Thank you so much for making a recurring one. It has been helping us so much. During this trying pandemic we have been able to feed over 2000 neighbors every week since March of 2020, and we are still going strong at our weekly FREEdom store at 7631 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland from 10-4pm on Tuesdays.
As many people were losing their jobs, we were able to hire folks and created 4 amazing teams;
1. the FREEdom store squad that feeds the people, 10 staff
2. the block clean-up crew, 3 staff, that cleans the MacArthur corridor 5-days per week,
3. our care managers who helped to redistribute $86,500 in the It Takes A Barrio Covid Relief Fund, 2 staff
4. our love package team, 2 staff, who deliver a package filled with love to our neighbors who are bed-ridden
On May 1st we opened our second center, the Homies Learning Center at 2635 Seminary Ave. There we are offering 8 FREE classes for middle school kids. You can learn about it an the high school we are designing at www.HomiesHighSchool.org
On June 1st we started to bring food, chairs and tables to encampments to break bread with our neighbors who are without homes. We call it lo(a)ves and fishes and we do so every Friday for lunch.
On August 1st we will open our third center, the Homies Care Center at 7645 MacArthur Blvd, 3 doors down from the FREEdom store. That is a one-stop shop for any of our neighbors who need support in these trying times.
We still have more dreams,
1. our high school (coming Fall 2022),
2. our clinic that is FREE and for all peoples
3. our restaurant, the homies café.
I share this because your donation and your support allows us to both dream and create.
We say that it truly takes a barrio. I share with you our wish-list because it takes all of us.
1. Diapers, 100 boxes, every week, in particular sizes 6 and 7.
2. Toiletries for 400 families weekly (shampoo, deodorant, etc.)
3. Culturally enriching books for our Homies library at 2635 Seminary
4. A working truck for the land that we will acquire soon to grow food.
5. 10 beds to grow food on Seminary avenue.
6. Clean socks for our lo(a)ves and fishes distribution.
7. Connections with Alameda County Office of Education folks so that they can help us make a way to open our school and serve all kids from the County who have been pushed out of school.
8. Join our Facebook “Homies Empowerment Solidarity” group.
9. Share our website with others, www.HomiesEmpowerment.com
10. Prayers and good wishes
Bless you and thank you,
If you are already a monthly donor to Homies—thank you. And, if you are not, I ask you to please consider making a monthly recurring, tax-deductible donation to Homies. Set it up as an automatic payment of any amount you can afford and forget about it until next year’s tax season. Whether it is $5, $50 or $500 knowing they can count on that amount each month makes it possible for Homies to do what they do best.
If you are local and would like to donate anything on the Homies wishlist above, please email me and I will make arrangements to collect your donations.
Until next time, stay healthy, safe, and love, most important, loved.