Today marks the vernal equinox and first day of spring—a beloved time of year. Perhaps because my birthday comes along with the season, the arrival of springtime happenings (greenness, jonquils, morning bird songs, warmer weather, budding trees, brighter days) is a source of supreme delight. Conversely, fall is my least favorite season. This is evidenced in the poem below, written exactly six months ago on the autumnal equinox.
Black philanthropy demonstrates “the vitality of Black communities, our value of Black lives, and our commitment to Black futures.” — from Keysha Walker’s 31 August Days message
Giving Augustly Year-Round
The shooting deaths of Keith L. Scott and Justin Carr have intensified questions of race, power and justice in Charlotte.
As engaged citizens, conscious givers, philanthropic leaders and change agents in the Charlotte region and beyond, members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists have an opportunity and responsibility to participate and help shape what happens next in the wake of recent tragedies and civic crisis.
Faces of members and friends of NGAAP-Charlotte compose this collage (right) from August celebrations of Black Philanthropy Month (BPM 2016). For one month, our giving circle engaged in a daily social media messaging campaign titled 31 August Days. The campaign served as a declaration of members’ beliefs and an affirmation that Black lives matter and Black giving matters. The entire series of messages can be found on our website and Facebook page.
Little did we know in August that one month later we would need to rely so heavily on our shared values and collective strength to nurture hope for what positive can come next. In fact, the 31 August Days messages prove prophetic in insight as Charlotte makes its way forward.
The spirit of unity that flowed from coast to coast during Black Philanthropy Month filled a reservoir that we are now able to draw from deeply. In retrospect, we are extraordinarily thankful for the 31 days of concerted, nationwide celebrations of culture, community, philanthropy and unadulterated love that BPM 2016 gifted our circle. We welcome continued connections, ideas and support from our allies in the growing Black Philanthropy Movement.
National Coffee Day is the perfect occasion to share a preview glimpse of another item in the new heARTwork product line, which is inspired by The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit! Plus, I’m thrilled that The Soul of Philanthropy, Pop-Up, Abridged Edition will soon open at Duke University’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.
The feeling reminds me of the morning following a huge snow or ice storm.
Grogginess lingering after a late, late night of watching news reports, assessing the “forecasts,” tracking accounts of heightening treacherousness via social media, and peeking from windows to see whether “it” has arrived in your area yet. Businesses closed. Events canceled. Continuous conference calls since everyone is working from home. Cooped inside. Eating peanut butter. Clutching hot drinks. And wondering if the worst has ended.
Next in the Heritage & History series is “The Family Collage,” which is an assembling of stories about kinship and friendship featuring Journalist and Madam CJ Walker descendant A’LELIA BUNDLES. It is one of several programs I’ve had the joy of creating and working on as project manager with the Gantt Center. Stories on past programs in the series can be found here and here.
A’Lelia is a writer, public speaker and entrepreneur, and she was the guest speaker at the inaugural opening of my exhibit The Soul of Philanthropy. “The Family Collage” is inspired, in part, by recent commemorations of the 105th birthday of Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden. Bundles interviewed Bearden in the 1980s and their maternal ancestors were close friends. President of the Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker Family Archives, A’Lelia will share fascinating stories of both the Walker and Bearden families.
A’Lelia has written extensively about her illustrious family—from the biography of her iconic great-great-grandmother, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, to stories about her great-grandmother A’Lelia Walker, known as “The Joy Goddess,” whose parties, friendships, global travel and arts patronage made her a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
Come gain new insights on these high-profile Black American families and bold American history-makers. You’ll also take away ideas for collecting your own family history and keeping your family’s roots alive.
The Heritage & History series features nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines and media. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences.
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African-Americans to American culture and serves as a community epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach. The Gantt Center partners with Duke Energy in presenting the Heritage & History series.
Sisters in Philanthropy breakfast event in New York for Black Philanthropy Month 2016
“The populist nature of black philanthropy underscores the need to look beyond foundations and major donors in thinking about how to spur greater African American giving. Because there are fewer big pots of wealth available, as is the case for white America, efforts to elicit higher levels of mass giving and better-targeted giving are key to nurturing black philanthropy as a rising force.”
Actually, let members of the circle tell you who they are and what we value in the slideshow below.
I value being a part of a group that embraces continual learning, awards grants to support philanthropic causes, engages diverse audiences to raise our collective consciousness, advances social justice, seeks innovation and impact, explores a myriad of possibilities and supports each other while supporting our community.