Team taps into unifying black community life - Albuquerque Journal

Team taps into unifying black community life

Where do black people in Albuquerque go to get a haircut? How can they find a local church?

A four-person team of local black activists, after receiving a professional contract from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to look at those and other questions, announced its findings and recommendations this week about what’s working and what’s not, what’s available and what’s not, for African Americans living in Albuquerque.

BROWN: Organizer of Young Blacks group
BROWN: Organizer of Young Blacks group
BELLAMY: “Fragmentation” is a big concern
BELLAMY: “Fragmentation” is a big concern

According to committee member Cathryn McGill, discovering such information is vital.

“Our small, albeit mighty (African-American) community” can anticipate “the miraculous transformation we experience and enjoy when we are unified,” she said.

The African American Community Economic Transformation Study was conducted by Albuquerque poet laureate Hakim Bellamy; co-organizer of Young Blacks of Albuquerque, Shawna Brown; executive director of the New Mexico Forum Foundation, Everette Hill; and McGill, founding director of the New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee.

Speaking with newcomers and longtimers, often interviewed at their kitchen tables or by phone, they posed open-ended questions about the quality of black life in New Mexico and how to improve it.

What the team learned was good and bad. On the good side, they found out, black civic organizations such as historically black fraternities and sororities have local chapters, and various black churches and other groups have cultural, political and social events going on. Four different groups currently offer after-school programs directed to black students.

MCGILL: Seeking a unified community
MCGILL: Seeking a unified community
HILL: Executive director of New Mexico Forum Foundation
HILL: Executive director of New Mexico Forum Foundation

The bad side, however, is that no one seems to know what anyone else is up to. “Fragmentation is one of the biggest words that kept coming up in our discussions,” Bellamy said.

Another oft-heard issue, according to Brown, had to do with hair care for blacks. “Women ask, ‘Where are all the beauty shops?’ and men are asking, ‘Where can I get a barber who won’t mess me up?'”

She also said black transplants who come from other areas for jobs at Intel or Sandia National Laboratories reported trouble finding churches with predominantly black congregations or black clergy members in leadership roles, and report that finding connections with other blacks was hard. “They leave after a year, saying they never connected with the black community,” Brown said.

The period of the $59,500 contract was from May 15 until Aug. 15, and during that time, the four interviewed 52 black Albuquerqueans from a pool of people who responded to their email poll.

The team made three recommendations:

  • To establish a leadership development institute;
  • To establish a community-based hub, a physical meeting space; and
  • To establish a communications infrastructure so black Albuquerqueans can connect.

When the audience weighed in, a communications infrastructure came in first.

The team created a website, nmblackpages.com, which will be managed by the New Mexico Black Chamber of Commerce.

Everette, Bellamy, Brown and McGill will meet again with Kellogg Foundation staff on Oct. 27.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Facebook to invest $800M in data center expansion
ABQnews Seeker
Facebook will add two more buildings ... Facebook will add two more buildings to its Los Lunas campus.
2
Affidavit: Gun not properly checked before fatal movie set ...
ABQnews Seeker
Investigators believe real bullet fired from ... Investigators believe real bullet fired from revolver, lead projectile recovered from director's shoulder
3
Ronchetti announces gubernatorial campaign
ABQnews Seeker
Mark Ronchetti has joined a crowded ... Mark Ronchetti has joined a crowded field of Republican candidates seeking the party's 2022 nomination for governor, providing a new jolt to what was ...
4
Deathly detours and a 'box of bones,' and you're ...
ABQnews Seeker
'Big kid at heart' Jared Trujillo ... 'Big kid at heart' Jared Trujillo asks spectators to donate non-perishable items that he gives to The Storehouse food pantry
5
Proton therapy to fight cancer in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Center to build $43M facility bringing ... Center to build $43M facility bringing technology to New Mexico for the first time
6
ABQ mom who lost son finds solace in Gun ...
ABQnews Seeker
Man, 22, one of nearly 100 ... Man, 22, one of nearly 100 people killed in city this year
7
State reports 687 new cases, 11 deaths
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico virus toll rises to ... New Mexico virus toll rises to 5,012
8
NM tribal leaders calling for cooperation on climate
ABQnews Seeker
Native areas are feeling the effects ... Native areas are feeling the effects
9
US funds weighed for disabilities program
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico has 13-year waiting list ... New Mexico has 13-year waiting list for services