Wednesday, June 21, 2017
We hope this finds you and yours in the best of health.
In commemoration of the day that the news of emancipation to be enforced by the US Military reached the people of Texas in 1865, we celebrate Juneteenth!
Pan African City Alive will participate in the East Palo Alto festivities this Saturday at the Bell Street Park from Noon to 7PM. Come out and enjoy the fun, fellowship, marketplace and music.
DRUMS DRUMS DRUMS! Pan African City will have a special sale on Djembes from Ivory Coast, Small drums from Ghana as well as Drumsong Drums handmade by our own Charles McKnight. There will also be some miscellaneous drums.
We will also have our usual items for sale: mud cloth, black soap, pure Shea Butter, oils, jewelry, hard to find books, etc.
Hope to see you there.
Peter and Keisha Evans
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Economics and the BAMBD
The primary question is how shall we make money in the BAMB District? What about a mixed portfolio? We can walk and chew gum, can't we? Aside from businesses already in the district, what else can be added to monetize? For sure, as artists we have creative properties to monetize. Perhaps this is our essential connection to the BAMBD business persons. Far too often we have the art, the show, but lack show business. Surely business persons can assist us in getting our show business together, e.g, how to package, produce, promote and sell our creations in a professional manner. Let's do things in a big way as a businessman used to tell our community. Do for self is in the BAM tradition. We had no choice but to publish our own writings once it became clear the commercial presses weren't interested in our products. Only a few writers were able to publish commercially. Most of us printed chapbooks to get our works to our people. Today there is publishing on demand and China. The Chinese can give us a very good deal. My daughter recently had her book published there.
But we can begin by taking an inventory of our products. Some of us have archives all over the house, e.g., manuscripts, paintings, audio and video productions. I've made more money from my archives than from my books, and my archives were in boxes that would be trashed upon my transition. This is the usual procedure with us. When the elders depart, we enter the house to take jewelry, China dishes, silverware and other items. But the letters of mom, pop, auntie, grandmother, we throw in the trash, in reality the gold: photos, diaries, scrapbooks, notebooks, etc.
Performing artists can collectively produce concerts, readings, books, audio and video tapes for sell to our people thirsty for conscious knowledge.
My daughter is a Bonds attorney. Some time ago she suggested training young people as bond sales persons. We can raise money for the BAM District through the sale of bonds on the grassroots level as well as on the municipal and state level.
We suggest the Afrikan Women's Market Day and the Black Farmer's Market Day on weekends, maybe in the Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza. Lynette McElhaney, President of the City Council, mentioned how the plaza is underused.
We want street vendors in the district on a daily basis, similar to Berkeley and San Francisco. We can begin with a pilot project from Clay to Franklin along 14th. This will give our people a place to sell their creations and products. This will encourage entrepreneurship among youth and adults.
There can be Art and Soul concerts monthly on different blocks for the exhibition of the many genres of art: paintings, crafts, food, clothing, books, CDs, DVDs; performance: R and B, Jazz, Hip Hop, Spirituals, Spoken Word, lecture/discussions, healing sessions to address the plethora of ills, physical, mental, spiritual.
For sure, we can sell BAM memorabilia: tee shirts, caps, jewelry and other products promoting BAMBD.
We can have tour guides for visitors and local people ignorant and/or curious of BAMBD. The City has a downtown tour guide, but we must expand the tour.
Stores and shops must have high standards with holistic items that will improve our health rather than destroy us physically and mentally.
All merchants in the district should pay membership dues for the greater good. Artists should pay membership dues as well.
We want to acquire housing and other properties for artist space, business space and housing for our people in the downtown area. We suggest the Land Trust for BAMBD properties. The SRO hotels can be acquired and sold with the life estate title, i.e., the people can own their space for life, but upon their transition, it reverts to the Land Trust. Generally speaking, homelessness can be solved over night with the life estate.
Mental health session must be required so we can recover from our addiction to white supremacy, Type I and II (Dr. Nathan Hare).
In order to do for self, we will initially need help from City, State and Federal agencies, along with generous donations from Silicon Valley firms and Globalists who have caused much of the displacement and destruction of the cultural vitality of our community. Governor Jerry Brown recently passed legislation to establish cultural districts throughout California.
As per the Oakland Downtown Plan, there may be the need for an immediate moratorium on rents and evictions in the BAMBD. The final Downtown Plan should include the necessary changes in the zoning laws, permits and tax structure.
We need to establish a billion dollar trust fund for the district. This should be enough to endow us for the next few years as we pass the baton to our children. They won't be able to say, "Why ya'll didn't leave us nothin' (somethin')?
These are some of my thoughts. What do you think? We welcome your comments.
--Marvin X, BAMBD Planner
On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 8:29:50 PM PDT, Marvin X Jackmon
Toward the Billion Dollar Trust Fund
for the Black Arts Movement Business District
The BAMBD is part of the City of Oakland’s downtown plan for the next 25 to 50 years. If it is to survive and thrive, the must be an independent endowment trust fund established to avoid city politics and budget crises that may cause defunding of the BAMB. So while we are not averse to receiving grant funds from city, state and governmental agencies, the BAMBD Billion Trust Fund would insure an independent repository of funds for the life blood of the BAMBD. We want the trust fund to be primary supported by the North American African people of Oakland and elsewhere throughout the nation. It will be a symbol of self-determination of the people. While we would not turn down funding from government and corporate entities, The BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund should symbolize and express the spirit of cultural and economic independence of the Black Arts Movement. As citizens, we have every right to receive funds from governmental and corporate agencies but the primary contributors to the fund should be North American Africans. In the past, too many of our organizations have been funded by persons and agencies not in harmony with the true aspirations of North American Africans. It must be clear that we will not compromise our principles and values for financial assistance. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors who called for cultural and economic independence.
Priorities of BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund
As indicated in the BAMBD pillars, housing is a priority. There must be market rate and affordable housing for workers, artists and common people in the BAMBD. We propose all properties in the BAMBD should be placed under the land trust to preserve land and properties for future generations, especially to stem the tide of gentrification. To help end homelessness, we seek to acquire SRO hotels for the homeless and grant them life estate titles to their dwellings. This will end a certain degree of homelessness overnight. Housing would assist those recently released from incarceration and those suffering from drug abuse, mental illness and partner abuse.
The BAMBD trust fund would acquire commercial properties for the district that would include office space, retail space, performance and exhibit space. In certain cases, we may need to re-gentrify properties for the benefit of the BAMBD community, placing such properties under the land trust.
We propose the establishment of the Dr.David Blackwell Institute of Math, Science, Technology and Art as an anchor educational institution in the BAMBD. The institute is in honor of the great North American mathematician who taught at the University of California, Berkeley. We invite UC Berkeley to partner with BAMBD in the establishment of the Blackwell STEM and Art institute. Silicon Valley corporations should also support the Blackwell Institute.
Again, the BAMBD trust should rely on the primary support of North American Africans who do indeed have the wealth to fund their cultural and economic endeavors.
The BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund would be under the direction of a community board with a vision for the future.
We invite non-profit groups in the BAMBD area and vicinity to partner with us to make the BAMBD a reality. We would especially appreciate such groups partnering with us to apply to the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 Million RFP for long range projects with broad community support.