"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

black history celebration at Alice Griffith Opportunity Center

Yesterday, Sherri and I went to the Alice Griffith Opportunity Center to participate in their first annual black history celebration. SFFS was there to show a movie, we showed 25 minute excerpt from With All Deliberate Speed (focusing on the Barbara Johns story with some of the Briggs story). We were scheduled at the beginning of the program (after an opening prayer and a couple of poems by Barbara Crittle). When we started the film there were about 15 very young children and a dozen adults. after 20 minutes only 4 adults remained. we stopped the film and had a good discussion with the 4 adults. We introduced each other and Sherri pointed out later that it was a good opportunity for "people to tell their stories, that doesn't happen enough." After the movie/discussion we went back outside to hear speeches from the invited speakers, but quickly had to retreat back inside because of rain. Dwayne Jones, Gregg Fortner, Lavelle Shaw and Victoria Vander-court spoke and received awards for their contributions to the community. Victoria gave a good brief history of the bayview and Gregg talked about how federal cut backs in federal housing money had forced him to layoff over 200 employees. He and Dwayne are the only two black heads of city departments (did I get that right). In our discussion with the four movie fans, we talked about the need for jobs among bayview residents and how the elimination of support for minority employment in the city has decreased dramatically minority employment and that was a the heart of the increase in violence going on. Gregg's story about his experiences as head of the housing authority were important for everyone to hear.

Yet, the Opportunity Center is a nice new building in the middle of the housing units, perfectly placed to provide an opportunity to develop community. we (sffs) hope to return again to support freedom education and community building.

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