Local2Global Advocates for Food Sovereignty

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Black Gathering on Black Food and Health Sovereignty and Justice KC, MO Febraury 6-9, 2013




Please RSVP if coming to Black Gatherings/ Unofficial  Side Events/ at New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in KC, MO Wednesday February 6 through Saturday February 9th to reserve your seat at the table.

I. Listing of Black Gatherings/Unofficial Side Events on Black Food Sovereignty and Food and Health Justice (4 events):
1. Dinner Meeting,  Wednesday February 6th at 7 pm, Cafe Gratitude, 333 SW Boulevard, KC, MO.
2. Friday, February 8th daytime, Meetings between AyeNay Abye, Malik Kenyatta Yakini and others who would like to join and Greater KC Black Community Members, Organizers and Activists, Locations around the city
3. Friday, February 8th 6-8 pm Clymer Center Activity Room, 13th and Paseo

4. Saturday, February 9th 11:00 am, Free Presentation of Soul Food Junkies, Discussion Afterwords,  Tivoli Theatre, 4050  Pennsylvania Avenue,  KC, MO  (913) 383-7756. Hosted by KCPT public television.
More Details Below:
1. Dinner Meeting,  Wednesday February 6th at 7 pm, Cafe Gratitude, 333 SW Boulevard, KC, MO. (KC Vegan restaurant a short taxi ride or distance from the site of the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. They have a delicious, filling community meal of black beans and quinoa for $2.00.)

1.1 Brief Introductions by All Present
1.2 Presentations by: (Bios at the end of this document)
a. AyeNay Abye, Field Director, The Praxis Project, (praxisproject.org)  will share her work with  poor people of color who have organized themselves to increase their collective bargaining power to achieve concrete changes in food and health sovereignty and justice for their communities.
b. Kolu Zigbi, Program Director for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and also for EAT4Health at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation,www.noyes.org will give a brief presentation on the work of  Black communities  that she works with  who have organized to increase their collective bargaining power to change the power relationships between themselves and the institutional structures that affect their  lives for Black food sovereignty and Black food and health justice.
c. . Ife Kilimanjaro, East Michigan Environmental Action Council will talk about her work organizing youth for environmental justice in Detroit. MI.
1.3 Others present will share their work for healthy Black communities.
1.4 Strategy session designed to explore “organizing” for power and dignity to change the power relationships and structures that keep Black people disproportionately poor, hungry and sick.  We  will build a dialog focused on 1) Identifying the system of problems related to food at various levels affecting our communities; 2) Brainstorming and sharing successful policy initiatives and 3) Concluding with clear next steps on how we can build our collective organizing power.
2. Friday, February 8th daytime, Meetings between AyeNay Abye, Malik Kenyatta Yakini and others who would like to join and Greater KC Black Community Members, Organizers and Activists, Locations around the city
3. Friday, February 8th 6-8 pm Clymer Center Activity Room, 13th and Paseo
AyeNay Abye, Malik Yakini and Ife Kilimanjaro (Bios at the end) will share their work organizing poor Black or other communities of color to build power to changer the power relationships and structures that affect theirr lives for food and health sovereignty and justice. They will dialog with KC’s Black community members and activists to help us  explore how we might “organize” for power and dignity to change the power relationships and structures that keep KC’s Black citizens disproportionately poor, hungry and sick.  We  will build a dialog focused on 1) Identifying the system of problems related to food at various levels affecting our KC communities; 2) Brainstorming and sharing successful policy initiatives and 3) Concluding with clear next steps on how we can build our collective organizing power.
4. Saturday, February 9th 11:00 am, Free Presentation of Soul Food Junkies, Discussion Afterwords,  Tivoli Theatre, 4050  Pennsylvania Avenue,  KC, MO  (913) 383-7756. Hosted by KCPT public television.

II.  If you would like to Present and other miscellaneous information:
If you would like to share your work at these gatherings, kindly send me a bio, photo, website if any or place where I can find info about your work and any references from participants in the Black Food Sovereignty and Food and Health Justice Movements as soon as possible. Please email to Maria Whittaker, foodsovereignty@yahoo.com, or mwhittaker@nhc-kc.org call 913 945 1333 or 816 241 3448 x 207 office, or fb me at Maria Whittaker.

I and these Black gatherings and side events are not officially affiliated with the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.  I have just taken advantage of their offering their conference in Kansas City (where I work and reside) and a diversity scholarship to organize gatherings of Black folks working on Black Food and And Health Sovereignty and Justice to build our power.

III. Theory of Change and the Praxis Project
The primary purpose for which  I have organized these gatherings of Black folks is to explore how we might organize ourselves and the Black people most affected by the lack of food and health sovereignty and justice  to increase our collective bargaining power to build healthy communities by changing the power relationships between Black people and the institutional structures that affect our  lives.
I am most inspired by the Praxis Project's work (praxisproject.org) which:
"is a nonprofit movement support intermediary and an institution of color that supports organizing and change work at local, regional and national levels.  Focused on movement building for fundamental change, their mission is to build healthy communities by changing the power relationships between people of color and the institutional structures that affect their lives."  http://www.thepraxisproject.org/about/who-we-are

Says the Praxis Project:
" Healing what really makes us sick. It is no secret that across nearly every indicator of health status, low income people and people of color are more likely to be sick, injured, or die prematurely.  Social determinants – where we live, our race and gender, our employment and income status, even our access to democratic participation are critical factors in our health status.  Improving health status will require addressing these root causes through sustained action for change that transforms the current systems of neglect, bias, and privilege into systems – policies, practices, institutions – into a social contract that truly supports health for all." http://www.thepraxisproject.org/about/who-we-are

IV. The State of Black Food and Health Sovereignty and Justice
As many of you know we Black folks have suffered horrendous land loss and participation in farming (While in 1920, over 14% of U.S, farmers were African American, as of 2007, less than 2% of U.S. farmers were Afro-descendants.  Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference) and  hunger (25% of African Americans are hungry; 35% of African American children are hungry).
Black Americans suffer high blood pressure, a major risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure, at a rate of 40% greater than that suffered by white Americans. (“A Strategic Framework for Improving Racial/Ethnic Minority Health and Eliminating Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities,” US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD: Office of Minority Health, January 2008.) Black Americans are twice as likely to die from strokes as white Americans. (Id.) Black Americans are also 2.1 times as likely as whites to suffer from diabetes and much more likely than whites to experience complications from diabetes, such as amputation of lower extremities. (Id.)
Black Americans are more likely to die from cancer than any other racial and ethnic group in the US. (American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans, 2007-8) Black American men are 50% more likely to have prostate cancer and are more likely than any other racial group to suffer colorectal cancer. (The Commonwealth Fund, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare: A Chartbook,” 2008.)
15% of Black Americans suffer from adult onset diabetes compared to 8% of the white population. (Id.) Because of reduced access to health care, treatment for these diseases is significantly lower among black than white people. (Id.)
African American females are disproportionately affected by hypertension (44.4%), followed by 41.4% of African American males, 31.5% of white males and 28.1% white females (National Center for Health Statistics (2011). National Center for Health Statistics (2011). Health, United States, 2010: With Special Feature on Death and Dying. Hyattsville, MD. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus10.pdf on March 4, 2012.Even when treated, hypertension leads to death more frequently in black people than white people. In 2005 the rate of death (per 100,000 people) from hypertension was 51.0 in black men, 40.9 in black women, and 15.1 in both white women and white men (Flack et al., 2010).Flack, J.M., Sica, D.A., Bakris, G., Brown, A.L., Ferdinand, K.C., Grimm, R.H.,… Jamerson, K.A. (2010). International Society on Hypertension in Blacks. Management of high blood pressure in Blacks: an update of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks consensus statement. Hypertension, 56(5), 780-800. 
V. Bios
AyeNay Abye was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was formerly, Lead Organizer with Californians for Justice in Oakland and Long Beach, California. At Californians For Justice AyeNay led a successful campaign, “So Fresh, So Clean”, winning $16 million dollars for Oakland High School under the landmark Williams v. California Settlement. She received her BA in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. During her time at UCSC she was heavily involved in student organizing and was supported by Dr. George Lipsitz to expand her organizing and delve into policy and research. She has now moved to Washington DC and is the Field Director at The Praxis Project.
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is an activist and educator who is committed to freedom and justice for African people in particular and humanity in general. Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven acre farm in Detroit. DBCFSN also spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which Yakini chaired from December 2009 – May 2012. He served as a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council from 2008 - 2010. He serves on the steering committee of Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System.

From 1990 – 2011 he served as Executive Director of Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy, one of Detroit’s leading African-centered schools. In 2006 he was honored as “Administrator of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

He is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks farmers in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. He views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality.

Yakini has presented at numerous local community meetings and national conferences on food justice and implementing community food security practices. He is featured in the book "Blacks Living Green," and the movie “Urban Roots.” He is currently an Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy “Food and Community Fellow”. He recently received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. He is a vegan and an avid organic grower.

Kolu Zigbi joined the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation in 2000 and is responsible for grants to bring about a more ecologically sustainable and socially just agriculture and food system. She is a member of Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders, which she previously co-chaired, as well as the Environmental Grantmakers Association, serves on the leadership committee of New York Blacks in Philanthropy, and is part of the Steering Committee for a new affinity group she helped organize with the North Star Fund called Community Food Funders. 

Kolu is an innovative grant maker dedicated to supporting the agency of people directly and negatively affected by a food system organized for profit rather than people. Through a three-year partnership she developed between the Noyes and Kellogg foundations she helped build the advocacy capacity of ten people-of-color led organizations addressing a wide range of food policy issues.  Recently, she developed and manages a new multi-funder partnership called Everyone At The Table For Health (EAT4Health) to bring to the Washington policy making table people of color and low-income communities who are normally excluded from national food and health policy debates. Kolu also co-teaches a course on “Food Justice” for Just Food’s Farm School, which is entering its third year.
Ife Kilimanjaro  has worked to strengthen organizations, institutions and efforts by and for black and brown people for the past 20 years. After completing her doctorate in sociology (focusing on race/class/gender relations and philosophy) at Howard University, Ife moved to Detroit to support teaching and learning at Michigan’s only historically black college – Lewis College of Business – as department chair and vice president.  Recognizing a need to support learning at younger ages, she served as principal of an African centered public school academy.  During that time, Ife was part of a team that launched University of Kmt Press, which later gave rise to African International, an online resource for left-of-center analyses of issues facing African people.  Upon leaving her educational leadership post, Ife returned to the grassroots activist realm of her earlier days and assumed various logistical roles during the planning and implementation of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.  She continues to participate on the Transition Team of the USSF; serves on the board of directors for the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network; assists local organizations behind the scenes to meet organization and funder-driven goals and reporting requirements; and supports groups and people seeking to do what is just and right toward the transformation of society.  Ife currently is employed by the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. She is a mother and grandmother, student of life and history, reiki practitioner and life-learner of herbal medicine and natural healing.

Maria Whittaker
President, Local to Global Advocates for Justice
Program Coordinator, Niles Home Nieghborhood Access to Healthy Foods Program
mwhittaker@nhc-kc.org
913 945 1333
816 241 3448 x 207

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to Kansas City. Here are some links to give you a long term view of the Black Food Sovereignty movement on the East Side of Kansas City (The Hood).

    Black lead aquaponics and urban farmers bring in National Speaker.
    http://willallenkcmo.wix.com/events#!

    Farm tour of Black Farms
    http://foundationjournal.blogspot.com/2010/09/east-of-troost-urban-farming-projects.html

    a committee aimed at changing urban food growing ordinances
    http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2009/11/10/urban-agriculture-steering-committee-begins-work

    Regional organization of all white appointees
    http://www.kchealthykids.org/Media-Center/Detail/Food-Policy-Coalition-Steering-Committee-Appointed

    $76 Million dollar per year food network to 1 million homes.
    http://www.harvesters.org/_FileLibrary/FileImage/Annual%20Report%202012%20web.pdf

    East Side of Kansas City Urban Plan of Record that received a national award
    http://www.kcmo.org/idc/groups/cityplanningplanningdiv/documents/cityplanninganddevelopment/hoc_areaplan_042111web.pdf

    2006 Violent Crime Commission report identifies the need for Economic Development and Education
    http://ww4.kcmo.org/council/covc.pdf

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