Trees are being sold behind the post office (24th and Spring) to benefit Umojafest. So, if anyone was thinking of getting a tree this year (or donating one for a family), come check it out.
More info at [email protected] or www.umojafestpeacecenter.ning.com
A few days ago I recieved a flyer about the tree sale at my house. The flyer states “Let your Christmas Tree purchase benefit the development of a positive youth cultural center to replace the negative culture of crime and violence.” The mission of this organization definitely seems like it is worth supporting.
I live near this location and I’ve watched it transform from a pair of junkie houses to some kind of organization. I have gone through the website and I still don’t know what this organization is all about or what its purpose in life is. Anyone who knows care to elaborate?
The sign on the fence says Umoja Peace Park. Saviour has started a program there, as part of the work with young people he does anyway. Ask him about it when you see him out around the P.O. parking lot and the plaza.
Savior also started the chess program at Thompson’s, and on a few warm summer nights it moved out to the plaza. I’m not sure if it’s still going on or not – anyone know?
We passed by the other day and thought it was a good thing and wanted to help them get the word out. So, while I don’t want to speak for them, here goes anyway… To be clear, this is all only my understanding of the situation.
The pair of junkie houses were crack houses. And with the consent of the landlord, Savior and some other folks have cleaned it out and are trying to turn them into youth centers, basically. Some of the old “patrons”, I hear, are not too happy about this turn around. Even so, it sounds like its going all right. So far, I believe the houses are just serving as an informal but safe place to hang out. The plan is to include a tech center and an organic garden. Savior is also quite active in the Umojafest festival. But I don’t know that there’s any other connection there. Hope this helps clarify some. Or swing by: the guy we talked to the other day was very happy to show us around and describe their plans.
I googled umoja fest because I felt like I needed to start at square one to understand what this is all about. Sounds pretty groovy, fun, and educational. The thing that has me scratching my head is the blogs in the website posted above, particularly the 2nd one. I’m not really sure I can support that kind of angry message.
Umojafest first started in Judkins Park some 25 years ago as the Central Areas areas summer Sea Fair community festival and was called the Central District festival and then the African American Festival and later the Umojafest. Omari Tahir Garrett kept the festival going after sponsors began to wane because the Central District festival at Garfield was started and competed for sponsors.
The Umojafest has always been held Seafair Weekend at Judkins Park and this last year it has really grown back nearly the original festival it once was. Really great music, food and feelings.
The back of the Christmas Tree flyer has more info about what Umojafest is about. Here is what it says:
In the spirit of Obama’s call for involvemnet in being the change we seek, a group of committed young community organizers and their peace supporters are developing the UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center in Seattle’s Central District.
We are transforming two former crack houses into a soon to be vibrant cultural cneter for youth to counteract the wave of crime and violence that is causing unprecedented incarceration and death to our children.
UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center will include the Center for Hip-Hop Culture, Business and Technology featuring audio video production studios, a memorial organic Peace Garden, office space for community organizations and an outdoor stage.
It looks to me as if these are papers or essays or speeches by well-known African-American speakers/writers that one member of this organization, apparently a quite young man, finds meaningful. It does not surprise me that at least some members of the community are still angry about slavery and other injustices, some of which continue to this day. I’m angry about them, too, and I’m not black! The thoughts and ideas expressed seem challenging but not threatening to anyone with any sense of justice/community/human rights.
I don’t find it necessary, for myself, at least, to support every blog on an organization’s web site in order to support the organization itself (examples are CD News and Seattle P-I!).
It’s beautiful to see that there is discussion about the PEACE Center. This means that the word is getting out to the community about our intended purpose. One purpose of the PEACE Center is to create a safe haven and a positive structure for youth and young adults to congregate without fear or intimidation of any kind. This will be a place of refuge where youth and young adults learn social skills, life skills, and various trades such as videography, media, etc. They will also learn and teach what they know in various classes that will be implemented to include a criminal justice curriculum, and critical thinking curriculum. Another purpose of the PEACE Center is to create leaders within the community. Far too often our leaders are given to us by the media and various politicians who have wayward thoughts about the plight of those in the Central District. The Center seeks to create a generation of change. This change will create an air of understanding which will alleviate shootings and deaths in front of our community centers and neighborhoods. The PEACE Center is in the process of using a holistic approach to communal self-healing which will seek to work with not only the youth, but the parents of youth and all extended family members. It will house the Association for Africentric Development which will be the catalyst for positive youth action. It will also house the Prodigal Sons and Daughters of America, Inc. which is an organization geared toward assisting in the tranformation of juveniles and young adults back into our communities from detention centers. This organization will work in hand with the DOCS to implement programs and referral services for ex-offenders returning to the Central District.
So we can see that the Center is being made to be a HUB of the Central District for services that the common man, woman and child can partake of without regard to their income, employment condition, religious perspective, ethnicity, etc. We are always seeking positive individuals to lend a hand. So if you are able and more importantly willing, please visit us and see for yourselves what we are about.
Prodigal Sons & Daughters of America, Inc.