Did you know that to date in 2018 we have raised $6,800 for organizations that support people of color here in Asheville or within Unitarian Universalism?

The Community Plate Team has dedicated 2018 Community Plate collections to organizations that are led by or directly serve people of color in our community and beyond.

In January, we collected $1,554 for the Mel Hetland Scholarship, which is funded entirely by our congregation and offers grants to students of color from Asheville going to college.

In February, we collected $1,693 for Building Bridges to support their work of education around dismantling of systemic racism in Asheville.

In March we collected $1,296 for the Mountain Retreat & Learning Center “Camperships” to go to kids of color attending Mountain Camps this summer.

In April we collected $1,407 to help the YWCA expand their Early Learning program, PLUS over $800 in a one time special collection to support undocumented immigrants detained in the recent ICE raids here in WNC.

For this initiative, the team looked for nominations of organizations that directly empower people of color or work to dismantle systemic racism rather than organizations that seek to mitigate secondary “symptoms” of systemic racism like poverty and hunger. While those are important things to fund, the Community Plate committee saw an opportunity to give more direct support and empowerment to children, youth, and adults of color.

In the months to come, we’ll be collecting funds for more such organizations, including CoThinkk, a giving circle that brings together community leaders who care about the economic and social well-being of communities of color in Asheville & Western NC, and My Sistah Taught Me That, an organization designed for the development, encouragement, inspiration, and education of young girls with a special focus on girls growing up in single parent homes without their father. 

If you’d like to add your personal impact to this congregational commitment by patronizing business owners of color, the Color of Asheville has a directory of African American owned businesses, professionals, service providers and clubs in Asheville, NC.

As the year goes on, the Community Plate Committee’s initiative will continue to honor the commitments to racial justice made by our denomination and congregation:

  • In 2015, UU General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness, “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement,”
  • In 2016, our congregation committed to Black Lives Matter. (I couldn’t find the exact words of this congregational vote—I believe it was in 2016)

In June of 2016, this congregation passed a resolution affirming our commitment to working for racial justice in our congregation, community, denomination, and world.

The committee believes that leveraging our own resources to support leadership and empowerment of people of color is an effective way to live into the promise of the racial justice resolution. The percentage of Black owned businesses in Asheville is particularly low, and we know that part of the work of dismantling systemic racism is increasing opportunities and access to leadership roles for people of color.

FMI contact a member of the Community Plate Team (Linda Kooiker,  Emilie White, Eleanor Lane, Brenda Robinson, and Donna Robinson).