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Summer Camp Fosters Female Camaraderie and Unity

WASHINGTON INFORMER — For the eighth consecutive summer, a group of elders will channel the spirit of Nannie Helen Burroughs, Anna Julia Cooper and other Black female education pioneers as they equip young ladies with the skills needed to navigate adolescence and womanhood.

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By Sam P.K. Collins

For the eighth consecutive summer, a group of elders will channel the spirit of Nannie Helen Burroughs, Anna Julia Cooper and other Black female education pioneers as they equip young ladies with the skills needed to navigate adolescence and womanhood.

This process will unfold throughout June and July during the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls. For six weeks, more than a dozen young women will keep their smartphones out of reach as they receive lessons in knowledge of self, ancestral reverence and conflict resolution — all intended to prime them for a lifetime of service.

“This camp is showing our girls how to be of service to their higher selves and community. There’s no technology. They have to turn on their inner technology,” said Kathy English Holt, founder of the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls.

Holt started the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls in 2001 while battling a serious illness. During her bout, she read about Burroughs and Cooper and learned about a local all-girls boarding school that Burroughs founded in the early 20th century.

That story inspired Holt’s foray into youth enrichment, which manifested in the launch of the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls at the Davis Center in Northwest.

That year and every year since, participants in the program learned about altar work, dance, sewing, yoga and nutrition under the auspices of Beatrice Davis Williams, Frances Coles, Bernadine Watson, Joyce Pegues, Free Benjamin, Princess Thompson and others.

Veteran educator Cheryl Shoemaker will continue to serve as camp director as young ladies between the ages of 5 and 13 converging on the Kingsbury Center in Northwest study the 14th Amendment and explore the historical and current impact of Black women in U.S. politics.

“What I found is that when children don’t have anything to do, they get into a lot of mess and fall behind on their school work,” Holt said. “They cannot afford to be idle. Young people trying to babysit young people is also extremely dangerous. Summer should be a time to focus. The youth need to do altar work and spend time [learning about] themselves.”

On May 19, the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls will host a benefit concert at Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ in Northwest. Jazz bassist and Holt’s son Corcoran Holt, along with his band The Mecca, will headline this event to raise funds for the summer camp.

The iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls rolls out amid what many consider treacherous times for Black women and girls.

Within the past few years, more than 75,000 Black women and girls across the country have gone missing in cases that haven’t been heavily publicized. Research from the African American Policy Forum also shows that Black girls often receive harsher treatment from school personnel and law enforcement officials than their counterparts.

In response what Holt described as the harsh language and demeaning decorum she recalled witnessing on public transportation, she molded the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls so that enrollees could connect with older women and eventually return the favor as camp counselors.

For Masai Oakes, a former camper and current camp counselor, such a model proved enriching, especially since she had all male siblings in her household.

Years after attending a weeklong retreat with her cohort in a rural South Carolina community. Oakes said she continues to embrace the love for drawing she fostered while in the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls.

“This was a camp to go to and feel empowered. Beforehand, I didn’t know or care that much about the importance of being a Black woman,” said Oakes, an 18-year-old college sophomore who lives in Northwest. “Going to this camp [helped me] see a lot of people like me and what we were capable of.

“It’s very important,” she said. “If someone wants a sense of community, the iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls would be a great place for them.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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Activism

Hurlbut Benevolent Foundation Teams with RichmondWORKS to Feed Families

Over 300 families in Richmond received $100 food coupons during the holidays thanks to a partnership involving a local foundation and RichmondWORKS.

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A single mom and her daughter with Garry Hurlbut. Courtesy photo.
A single mom and her daughter with Garry Hurlbut. Courtesy photo.

Richmond Standard

Over 300 families in Richmond received $100 food coupons during the holidays thanks to a partnership involving a local foundation and RichmondWORKS.

Richmond residents Maryn and Garry Hurlbut and the Hurlbut Benevolent Foundation (HBF) Board of Directors partnered with Bouakhay Phongboupha, program manager for RichmondWORKS, to make the distribution possible.

“Bouakhay and her staff have been able to identify some of the most needy families in Richmond who could make the best use of the supplemental food over the holiday season,” Garry Hurlbut said.

The Hurlbuts are retirees and Richmond residents who are very active in the community. One of the pair’s significant contributions is starting the Richmond Tennis Association, which significantly amplified tennis participation and facilities in the city.

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Community

Coming Soon: MLK Jr. Day Celebration on Jan. 15

Marin City will be hosting its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Marin City will be hosting its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The theme will be “Fan the Flames of the ‘Dream’ Into Reality!”

The celebration will have music, food, spoken word, youth presentations, songs of inspiration, speakers and fellowship.

For more information, contact Florence Williams at (415) 332-1441

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Activism

Kaplan, Councilmembers Support Expanded Safe Car Park Program for Unhoused

The need for safe overnight parking is crucial and well-documented, according to Kaplan. In January 2022, the Point-In-Time Homeless Count and Survey revealed that there are more than 3,337 unsheltered individuals in Oakland, and the number of people living in their vehicles has increased. Homelessness is a complex crisis that requires both short-term and long-term solutions, she said.

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Rebecca Kaplan. Courtesy of KRON4.
Rebecca Kaplan. Courtesy of KRON4.

By Post Staff

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has released a statement saying she is encouraged that the Oakland City Council has approved resolutions she introduced in partnership with Council President Nikki Bas and Councilmember Carroll Fife to support local faith-based congregations who use their properties as safe overnight parking to help Oakland’s unhoused population living in their vehicles.

The need for safe overnight parking is crucial and well-documented, according to Kaplan. In January 2022, the Point-In-Time Homeless Count and Survey revealed that there are more than 3,337 unsheltered individuals in Oakland, and the number of people living in their vehicles has increased. Homelessness is a complex crisis that requires both short-term and long-term solutions, she said.

The data shows that while the proportion of unhoused people living in tents has decreased in recent years, the proportion living in cars has increased. Therefore, this effort partners with local faith-based organizations to help those living in their vehicles, Kaplan said.

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) Safe Parking program provides safe and legal overnight parking at local churches. This program provides support for minor auto repairs, car registration and tickets, along with access to showers and laundry. It is an essential program for Oakland’s unhoused population that lives in their vehicles, including single adults, couples and families with small children, Kaplan said.“The Interfaith Council of Alameda County, in partnership with the Westside Missionary Baptist Church, has run a safe car park program for the last five years with many other congregations and partner nonprofits. With the leadership of Kaplan, on the Council, the Mayor’s office, Council President Nikki Bas, and Councilmember Carrol Fife, we were able to get a commitment of funding of $450,000 from the City of Oakland to expand our operations to three sites to continue to support the Oakland community living in their cars,” said Rev. Ken Chambers, ICAC president.Kaplan has pointed out that the city has money for the safe car park program but has not spent it.Oakland voters approved Measure Q with 68% of the vote. Measure Q promised voters park maintenance, litter reduction and homelessness intervention in and around city parks. However, the City Auditor found the City underspent collected taxes, accruing a fund balance of nearly $22 million as of June 30, 2023.

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