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YOU HAD ME AT HELLO: ‘It’s just a great joy to give love and to be loved’

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — “You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them.

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By Je’Don Holloway-Talley Special to the Birmingham Times

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Erica Wright ewright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

Live: Pinson

Married: June 5, 1982

Met: Arthur and Daveina got to know each other on the porch in front of Daveina’s home in the late ’70s on Birmingham’s west side. Daveina, then 15, was a sophomore at West End High School while Arthur, then 19, a Powderly Hills native who had attended Wenonah High School, was a freshman at Alabama State University (ASU).

The two were introduced by a mutual friend. “He was in college and I wasn’t quite at the driving age, I had my permit,” Daveina said. Arthur said, “I used to date her from her porch. We spent a lot of weekends on that porch before I was ever able to take her out.” However, they spent a lot of hours on the phone, he remembered. “That’s when folks used to have to wait in line to talk on the house phone (in the college dorm), Arthur said.

First date: “We went to see [the film] Amityville Horror, and for a steak dinner at Sizzler Steakhouse,” Daveina said, “but not before we took a drive around town. He took me to his summer co-op job at Century 21, and it impressed me to see a young guy wanting to be in business.”

Daveina said she was able to see their future on their first date. But, it would be five years before they went on another date. “Our lives took different turns,” she said. “He got into other serious relationships. I got into some serious relationships.”

The Turn: They would reunite where they began from five years before: on her front porch. “I was getting ready to come out of college (Clark Atlanta), and he had really invested in his [real estate] career…,” Daveina said. “We reconnected when I came home for Thanksgiving, but we rekindled when I came home for Christmas [that year]. I stayed for the whole three weeks and we dated and had a great time and nurtured our relationship all the way through New Year’s,” Daveina said.

The proposal: “We were together New Year’s Day, her mother was cooking dinner for all of us….and I asked her outside and said ‘we’re going to start the New Year off right. I know you’re the one for me, and I‘d like to spend the rest of my life with you and I’d like to make you my wife’ then I said, ‘do you want to marry me?’,” Arthur said.

“We kissed, I said, ‘Yes, I will,’” Daveina remembered, “then we went back inside and he got down on his knee in front of my parents and asked my daddy for my hand in the dining room. The next day, we got up and we went and found my ring and he gave it to me the following day on my birthday [January 3),” she said.

The wedding:  Vulcan Museum and Park. The colors were blush pink, and silver

“We got married in Vulcan Park, everything was real nice,” Daveina said. “It rained and after it stopped there was a big rainbow in the sky, you can see it in one of our pictures,” she said.

“We danced to Frankie Beverly and Maze all night, when everybody got ready to leave out they were singing going down the steps,” Arthur said, “they were singing ‘Joy, and Pain’ still wanting to party,” he said.

Words of wisdom: It’s all about fostering a deep connection and close-knit friendship, said the Godfreys of their 35-year marriage.

“Love is not about better communication, it’s about a better connection. You have to have a very good connection,” Daveina said, “men want a close marriage just as much as the woman does.”

Arthur added that it’s about the friendship that you build over time.

“All things and people change, but your marriage and your home are there to stay,” he said. “Over time, we have become better friends, we raised kids together, we’ve learned that we’re all we have. Especially after our parents passed,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of death and sorrow and we’ve had to overcome that and be there for one another.”

Happily ever after: Arthur and Daveina lived in Atlanta, GA during the early years of their marriage before returning to Birmingham. Daveina earned a bachelor of sciences degree in psychology from Clark Atlanta and her master’s degree in education from Alabama State University. Arthur earned a bachelor of science’s degree in business and finance from ASU. They have four adult children, three sons and one daughter.

Arthur said it’s a joy to have a sophomore at A&M, a daughter in law school, and two sons in promising careers “and having [his wife] you’re able to have and share these moments with.”

Arthur is a loan officer for an area bank and Daveina is a retiree from Children’s Hospital in Behavioral Health. She also has her own company, ‘Daveina Mending Homes’, where she counsels foster children.

Daveina said she enjoys how they continue to work together “from how we handle crisis, to how we handle trips and vacations; it’s just a great joy to give love and to be loved,” she said. “Romance is everyday life.”

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

Activism

Over 500 Attend Police-Free Event to Reimagine Safety in Oakland

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation Events Held in More Than 50 Communities Across the Country

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

OAKLAND, CA — Over 500 people and families filled Josie de la Cruz Park in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood on Aug. 2 to enjoy performances, kids activities, and mutual aid to celebrate Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), an annual national event that redefines what safety and joy is without policing. The free community event included free diapers and books for all ages, food, bike giveaways, air purifiers, self defense training, a drag show, and performances from poets and artists such as Lauren Adams, TJ Sykes and Voces Mexicanas.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

“We have been reimagining what safety means beyond police for our communities for over 25 years at the Ella Baker Center. When we create safe spaces for our community to come together and support each other, when we provide living-wage jobs so people are able to put food on their table, when we empower our children and provide opportunities for them to thrive, when we invest in healthcare and mental health resources, this is how we create real safety,” said Marlene Sanchez, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Through Night Out for Safety and Liberation, communities are creating safety not through policing but through healing and restorative justice, through creating gender affirming spaces and protecting trans and LGBTQIA communities, through reinvesting funding into community-based alternatives and solutions that truly keep communities safe.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

“We don’t need more police in our streets. We don’t need more surveillance. What we need is resources!” said Jose Bernal, Organizing Director with the Ella Baker Center. “What we need is housing, diapers, legal resources, jobs. This [Night Out for Safety and Liberation] is what keeps us safe. This is resilience.”

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

The event was emceed by Nifa Akosua, Senior Organizer and Advocate with the Ella Baker Center, and TJ Sykes, author and community activist–both natives of Richmond, California. The show included entertaining performances from Oakland Originalz break dancers, Voces Mexicanas mariachi band, singer Lauren Adams and a drag show from Afrika America.

“Night Out for Safety and Liberation is about neighborhood love and neighborhood safety. It’s about connecting, showing up for each other and staying connected as a community. That’s how we keep each other safe,” said Nifa.

More than 20 organizations and vendors participated in Tuesday’s event, offering community resources, face painting, giving away 500 books for all ages, and free diapers. Those participating included: Help A Mother Out, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, ACLU of Northern California, TGI Justice Project, Urban Peace Movement, Ella Baker’s Readers & Cesar Chavez Public Library, Alliance for Girls, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Centro Legal de la Raza, Common Humanity Collective, Street Level Health Project, Malikah – Self Defense, East Bay Community Law Center, Unity Council, Young Women’s Freedom Center, East Bay Family Defenders, Bay Area Workers Support, L’Artiste A La Carte, Education Super Highway, Cut Fruit Collective, and WIC.

Other Night Out for Safety and Liberation events were held in Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Waco, Hampden, Conway, Washington D.C. and other cities. Follow the conversation and see photos from events in other cities using #SafetyIs and #NOSL22.

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Activism

Center for Elders’ Independence Celebrates 40 Years in the Community

“More than 5,000 senior participants and their families have benefited from CEI and PACE during the 40 years we have served the East Bay and we look forward to being able to serve 5,000 more,” said CEI President and CEO María Zamora.

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CEI participant Ervin Vinson (left) speaks to - geriatric aide O'Nesha Hogroe (center) and Maria Zamora (right), CEO of CEI.
CEI participant Ervin Vinson (left) speaks to - geriatric aide O'Nesha Hogroe (center) and Maria Zamora (right), CEO of CEI.

Senior residents of the East Bay gathered at the Center for Elders’ Independence in San Leandro to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary on July 12. About 100 participants and executives from CEI were there to celebrate the milestone with dancing, live music, food, trivia, and activities.

“Our organization has grown so much over the last 40 years that now we have more than 1,000 participants taking part in our programs,” CEI President and CEO María Zamora said. “We recognize the great responsibility we have to everyone who take part and our staff does an amazing job of meeting their needs every day.”

CEI’s participants are served through PACE, a personalized healthcare and services program, which allows seniors to receive the care they need, all while continuing to live at home.

“More than 5,000 senior participants and their families have benefited from CEI and PACE during the 40 years we have served the East Bay and we look forward to being able to serve 5,000 more.” Zamora said.

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Activism

Youth Uprising Approaches Mental Wellness with Fun, Education and Job Opportunity

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

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Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.
Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.

Black Mental Health: Part 8

By Tanya Dennis

Youth Uprising provides comprehensive, fully integrated health, wellness, educational, career, arts, and cultural programming to Alameda County youth and young adults, ages 13-24. Located at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in East Oakland. Youth Uprising has taken a mind, body, spirit approach to mental wellness.

Y’Anad Burrell, CEO of Youth Uprising, says that “It was essential we offered a mental wellness program at Youth Uprising because we saw the unfortunate outcomes of social isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to broaden our programs to not always think of wellness as a room and counseling, but instead think of how we could incorporate wellness in our everyday life dance.

“We have full-time clinicians but elevate the narrative of wellness that is interactive and fun. We check in with our youth on how they are adapting to this new social structure created by COVID-19,” she said.

Mental health clinicians Tamikia McCoy and Rica Rice offer services Monday thru Friday. For service contact Tamikia McCoy at – tmccoy@youthuprising.org

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

Currently Youth Uprising’s “Wing Wednesdays” is held at their Café, but there are plans for “pop-ups” and “A Taste of Oakland,” student event in August where 10 to 15 students will showcase their food.

Burrell says that “A Taste of Oakland” is providing an opportunity for learning the elements of the culinary industry in classes teaching cooking and the business side of the café. Each station in the café will have an adult teacher to guide them on how to serve, how to greet the customer, work the cash register weekly, cleaning and sanitizing the café, and understanding the elements of being a chef.”

Burrell is especially proud of Youth Uprising’s Delinquency Prevention Network (DPN) conducted by Javion Robertson. DPN is a job readiness program training up to 20 youth reduced from 50 due to COVID safety.

Every 90 days students are taught communications, public speaking, resume writing, time management, professional dress, workplace employer relations and prepare youth before they are placed.

DPN is Youth Uprisings most popular and well attended program and is conducted Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. To enroll contact Javion Robertson at jrobertson@youthuprising.org

Burrell noted that, “Youth Uprising belongs to our community and our youth, so we deliver on our original purpose and design. Our goal is to develop youth into leaders, and that they leave aware of how the system impacts them and are prepared.

“Our mission statement is “We believe that if we provide youth with relevant services and programs, meaningful engagement with caring adults, and opportunities to practice leadership they will become change agents and contributors to a healthy thriving community. This formula for change maintains that healthy, involved people can influence policy and ultimately create healthier, safer, and economically robust communities. It recognizes that youth are inherently resilient, and that risk can be reduced with the right set of supports, services, and opportunities.”

For more information contact Danielle Parker, Youth Uprising’s Executive Assistant dparker@youthuprising.org or call 510-777-9909.

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