Addressing this core question were the following primary initiatives, each supported by a $10,000 grant:
Beauty in the Backstreets: Based on a systematic strategy developed be Deanna “Deedee” Brown, this initiative seeks to provide access to communications infrastructure and production tools in the service of community empowerment. Together, they successfully created a documentary media/community storytelling workshop in February 2017 as well as an integrated multimedia solo performance to be premiered at PVD Fest in June 2017. By learning to tell their own stories in new ways, participants took control of their own narratives, while shaping the narratives of and about their neighborhoods and communities.
Violet’s Village Learning Center: Over 7 weeks, this team prototyped a program that adopts an African diasporic lens to engage young people, their parents, and community members to gain perspective on how people have overcome obstacles and gained power through connection with each other. Through this initiative, youth learned about African history and created engaging projects rooted in Afro-Diasporic culture; visited local museum exhibits and cultural sites important to the African Diaspora; built communication, art, and writing skills that affirm self-worth; and visited local museum exhibits and cultural sites important to the African Diaspora. “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” - Marcus Garvey.
Human Services Collaboration: This cluster sought to bring human service providers together to break down silos, explore shared needs, and develop a thriving ecosystem that collaborates and enables. Moving away from a reactionary stance, the collaborative produced a video that shares the stories of a cross-section of area actors - residents, small business people, clients, service providers - to convey how Trinity Square has been impacted by Rhode Island’s towns rejecting the homeless and others in need such that people in crisis from around the state must seek services in this one neighborhood. Also integrated into the video was footage of recent meetings regarding new development pressures for this area that directly abuts downtown.