by Chamidae Ford
This Sunday, April 25, the Black Action Coalition (BAC) will be hosting a Black Health and Wealth Fair at Jefferson Park. The event is dedicated to providing the Black community with resources to improve their lives holistically.
Featuring a wide range of vendors, activities, and speakers, the event represents an opportunity to learn of the programs and support systems that exist in Seattle and how to take advantage of them.
BAC was founded last summer in response to the murder of George Floyd. Rooted in mutual aid, this fair is just one of the many ways they are working to provide for their community.
“Black Action Coalition is pretty much a group of like-minded people who wanted to come together and continue to advocate for Black lives [who are] facing systemic oppression,” Ishmael Geter, a liaison for BAC, said. “This is a community-based, volunteer-led, group that’s out here advocating for police reform [and] resource allocation. Trying to put it back into communities that are being underserved, which today are Black and Brown communities and Indigenous communities. We wanted to put together a resource allocation event where people could come out and connect with some type of harm reduction, job placements, mental health services, transportation, and just an array of things that’s out there that the community may need.”
Travonna Thompson-Wiley, a liaison for the event, mentioned that the fair will include a wide range of health-related resources. Booths range from learning how to build a healthy smoothie to holistic treatments and mental health resources.
“[Commit Get Fit] is going to come out — they are a local Black business that is using smoothies as a way to educate folks on how to do juices and smoothies and also how to get fit,” Thompson-Wiley said. “We have Affinity Well, which is a holistic wellness company that’s gonna come and find ways to connect with folks about how to heal holistically through foods, through herbs, through meditation … [and] the Institute of African Centered Thought, which is going to be really about expressing yourself [through] creativity and meditation as well.”
“We also have the Bloodworks Northwest cord and blood donation program coming through,” Thompson-Wiley said, noting that finding Black blood donors can be challenging. “So they’ll be out there and connecting with folks on how to donate blood and why it’s important for us to do that as a community.”
This event is centered around the fact that upward mobility requires stability in all aspects of one’s life. The fair is focusing on a holistic approach to systematic oppression by working to address not just the physical and mental issues the Black community may be facing but also the financial obstacles.
“We have the resources when it comes to teaching folks about wealth and then financial literacy and whatnot. We have a Black-owned financial group coming through, Flourish Financial Group. They’re educating folks on how to manage a budget, how to manage your credit, how to manage debt, ways in which you can buy a home. We have a Black real estate agent that’s gonna come and talk to folks about buying their first home, which is important when we’re talking about economic mobility.”
Bobbie Stills, a member of the Community Care Coalition, said this event is an opportunity to bring awareness to a lot of issues members of the community are facing while providing opportunities for people to address concerns they have.
“One of the main points of the event is to raise awareness around trauma care,” Stills said. “Whether that’s, you know, financial health, mental health, or physical health, creating awareness around trauma that people have been dealing with for hundreds of years. We want to make sure that the community is there to support people in the Black and Brown communities and show them that there are resources out there to help them. And that’s kind of what Black Action Coalition is doing, is trying to gather all these resources into one place. So if you need anything it’s all there.”
This fair also provides resources to connect you with job opportunities. Featuring booths from King County Parks and Recreation and the Department of Housing, among others, it is a chance to meet with different government departments and non-profits for internship and apprentice jobs.
The Black Health and Wealth Fair is one of many events that allow the Black Action Coalition to continue on a path of helping their community.
“The Black Action Coalition is really passionate about divesting from institutions that have historically brutalized Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” Thompson-Wiley said. “So we’ll be having folks there talking about the defund work, which is really important as far as making sure that we’re allocating resources from institutions that have historically brutalized folks and putting that into developing a system where we’re addressing community basic needs and also developing harm reduction programs.”
And while the Black Health and Wealth Fair is rooted in improving the lives of the Black community, it also allows a chance for the Black community to connect.
“We really just wanted to bring folks together as a way to celebrate and also connect with one another,” Thompson-Wiley said. “To find out what someone in our community needs, how can we help them so that when they leave the event, they’re able to find ways to help other people in their community, whether it’s their next-door neighbor or whether it’s the grandma that’s down the street. We really want to get back into that village mentality and to the community mentality. And that starts with helping folks and definitely, Black Action Coalition is all about mutual aid services, because that’s what the community needs. They need resources distributed to them directly so that they’re able to help with their basic needs every day.”
The event will take place from 12–5 p.m. Follow BAC’s Instagram to stay up to date.
Chamidae Ford is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a passion for providing a voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. Reach her on IG/Twitter: @chamidaeford.
📸 A 2020 South Seattle community gathering. (Photo: Susan Fried).
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