Peace Rally Saturday Aug. 30

There is a Peace Rally scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday August 30 from 3 to 9 pm in Triangle Park on The Block. “Join us for a day of unity and positive messages delivered through music and speeches.” Click here for more details.

peace rally


Date My City Lounge at Big Love Fest this Sunday

This Sunday, August 24 from 1 – 8 pm, Date My City will be hosting the “Date My City Lounge” at Big Love Fest. It’ll be a great place to hangout and connect!

Stop by for a free massage, sweet tea, games for grown ups and balloon art for the kids. There will be tours to the YMI Cultural Center to see the “Cash Crop” exhibit leaving the Lounge 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm. Date My City is also hosting performers on the AshevilleFM stage.

Most importantly, the Date My City Lounge will showcase minority entrepreneurs, activists, writers, and artists from our community!

Click here to see a full list of who will be at the Lounge and on the stage.

big love flyer

The Asheville Blade is an Asset

asheville bladeThe Asheville Blade ( is a new online media outlet, which has already covered crucial stories and added important perspectives to community conversations. With a slogan of “cutting to the point,” the Asheville Blade is a bold and necessary voice for our town.

Two recent pieces of note are:

Red Lines – an investigative journalism piece by Asheville Blade founder David Forbes
“Racist government programs shaped Asheville’s ‘urban renewal,’ demolishing homes and pushing out thousands. The results still haunt the city today.”


‘Diversity’ is the New Black – an opinion piece by Sheneika Smith
“Asheville’s current approach to diversity is like putting a bandage on a dirty wound. A better way will require a more politically and economically powerful black community — and the city truly addressing some hard history.

I encourage you to read both of these pieces!
You can support the Asheville Blade for as little as $3/month. I did.

Public Housing Awareness and Advocacy

The Public Housing Advocacy Coalition (PHAC) is a new Asheville group comprised of public housing residents, representatives from community organizations and concerned citizens (including me). One of the things that frustrates me about Asheville is the general lack of awareness about our public housing communities. I am hoping this group will be able to contribute to increased awareness and support.  Click here to follow PHAC on Facebook.

The main focus of PHAC right now is getting the word out about the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville’s (HACA) plan to shift their funding to HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). There are many possible implications for this, including the fact that it opens the door to a shift to private ownership of public housing.

Below are links to a few articles about HACA and RAD, I encourage you to read them.

The Asheville Blade:

Different roads: the future of Asheville’s public housing

Carolina Public Press:

Asheville public housing agency, residents facing unprecedented overhaul

Asheville housing authority to meet with residents about overhaul concerns

As you can tell from this blog, I am interested in seeing Asheville shift our long time status quo of dysfunctional racial and socio-economic dynamics. There are a lot of good heart-ed people living here that I like to believe can make Asheville a better place for everyone. I’d love to hear your thoughts about strategies for creating this shift, either in the comments below, or via email: amiworthen at gmail.

In the meantime, I’ll keep posting on this blog about groups and individuals that I see taking action in positive directions.

public housing advocacy coalition

Photos by Matt Rose/Carolina Public Press

State of Black Asheville Presentation

This Saturday, June 21, from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm at the YMI Cultural Center, UNC Asheville students from the State of Black Asheville course will present their research on the status of Black Asheville in several public policy areas such as: education, health care, housing & economic development, criminal justice, and culture. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. If you have questions, email

Click here for the Facebook event page.

state of black asheville 2014

Juneteenth Celebration this Saturday!


From the Women’s Wellbeing & Development Foundation:

Hey everyone, the fourth annual Juneteenth celebration is taking place on Saturday June 14th from 11 am – 4 pm in the field at Hillcrest!

Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S., and will be featuring free food, live entertainment, educational speakers, historical documents and artifacts, fun activities for children, raffle prizes, and more!

This is a free public event and is very family friendly, so come on out and celebrate!

We are looking for the following items to borrow: popup tents, folding tables and chairs, hoses, extension cords, and a generator. We are also looking for volunteers (and sponsors).

If you’re interested in helping, please call Nicole at 828-255-8777.

juneteenth flyer


This week I thought I’d share a few opportunities…

Volunteer Opportunities

The Mountain Xpress recently featured this great volunteer opportunity…

NEWStrailblazers1-1100x825“For the past three summers, Nicole Hinebaugh has led a group of children from Asheville’s public housing neighborhoods down the hiking trails of Western North Carolina. This year, she needs extra help from volunteers to keep the program — the Trailblazers Outdoor Adventure Club — going strong. Most of these children have never seen the luscious greenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Hinebaugh cites this as one of the main reasons why local nonprofit Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation founded Trailblazers. ‘Honestly, we realized that a lot of the children didn’t know about these any of these places,’ Hinebaugh explains.”

Click here to read the whole article.

To volunteer or learn more about the Trailblazers Outdoor Adventure Club, email Hinebaugh at, or call 255-8777. To donate to the program, go to

And the cover story of this month’s Urban News is the Read to Succeed Program…

Issac Coleman started Read to Succeed in 2008 because he was “especially troubled that so many children, particularly from public housing, were not reading at grade level.”  Volunteering for the Read to Succeed requires extensive training and a multiple year commitment – both things that contribute to the likelihood of success with the child you tutor.

Click here to read the whole article.

To find out more about being a volunteer for Read to Succeed, visit, contact Julie Sherman at, 251-4949 or (510) 459-3208.

Social Opportunity

The WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition is hosting a Mountain Mixer this Friday, May 23, from 5 to 7 at the Haywood Lounge, 590 Haywood Road.  This drop-in event will be great chance to network and to support a minority owned business!

Ok, that’s it for this week! – Ami

Ujamaa Freedom Market Kick-Off This Thursday

ujamaa partyThe Ujamaa Freedom Market will hold a kick-off party this Thursday, May 15 at 9 pm at The Millroom, 66 Asheland Ave.

Admission is $10 at the door. Performers include DJ Anne-Marie on the 1’s & 2’s, Santos, Juan Holiday & Big Dave of Out the Gutta Ent.

The event will help support the organization’s mission to “to promote social, economic, environmental, and food justice by serving as a model for self-sufficiency while inspiring healthy relationships with food in order to strengthen the quality of life, health and well being of the community.”

Click here to read an article about Ujamaa Freedom Markt in the Citizen-Times.

Excerpt: “Officially founded at the beginning of 2013, the business is a worker-owned cooperative mobile market designed to provide fresh local produce, healthy prepared foods and other household necessities in communities throughout Asheville on a weekly basis, focusing particularly on communities experiencing poverty and so-called ‘food deserts.'”

Click here for an article about Ujamaa and other mobile markets in the Xpress.

Excerpts: “‘We want to show people that they can lift themselves while doing something that will benefit the community and benefit themselves at the same time,’ Lewis says.”

“‘The idea is to be a model for individuals that look like us and come from similar backgrounds,’ says Lewis. ‘We want to show that if you’re not accepted in the institutions that are out there, then you can create something new that is your own and supports you and that you will continue to be a part of.'”

You can find out their route each day on the Ujamaa Facebook page.

Hope to see you at the party!

Minority Medical Mentoring Program

HOPE BanquetThe Minority Medical Mentoring Program HOPE Banquet will be held on Thursday, May 22 from 6 to 8 pm at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Blue Ridge Room, 121 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC. Tickets are $50 each and go to support the Minority Medical Mentoring Program.

Click here to reserve your tickets.

The Minority Medical Mentoring Program allows high school seniors to shadow medical providers as student interns.

Why is this program so important? Here is some background information from the event invite:

There are 974 physicians actively practicing medicine in Buncombe County; only two percent (2%) are underrepresented minorities (self-reporting). The latest numbers are seven African Americans (0.72%), eight Indian (.82%), two Vietnamese (0.21%), one Latino (0.10%), one Korean (0.10%) and one Asian/Pacific Islander (10%). – Western Carolina Medical Society, May 29, 2013

These statistics reflect a serious need to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities in the health professions in order to promote culturally consistent care.

We invite you to join us in the effort of growing our future leaders in healthcare that will potentially come back to practice in Western North Carolina. Your donation and attendance will contribute to the sustainability of this program as well as provide scholarships to program participants.

This program is a collaboration of Asheville-Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement (ABIPA), the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Mission Health and the Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS).

WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition

The cover story of this week’s Mountain Xpress, “Hidden in Plain View,” is about the WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition (WNC DEC), and the work they are undertaking to promote racial equity in Asheville. If you are interested, the article is well worth reading.

The WNC DEC is comprised of representatives of six of the area’s anchor institutions: Buncombe County, Asheville City, Mission Hospital, UNC Asheville, AB Tech and MAHEC, in addition to other concerned community members. The purpose of the group is to address the economic disparities that exist between whites and people of color in our community. (The Xpress article includes some very depressing statistics highlighting these disparities.)

By offering trainings for minority professionals, impacting the institutional practices of the six anchor institutions, and holding social/networking events, the WNC DEC intends to increase the diversity of WNC’s upper level professionals.

I am heartened by their efforts.

You can find out more at and

photo by cindy kunst


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