The BHMACC Benevolence Society
Benevolence In the Time of COVID-19
The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center hopes that you are staying safe through this pandemic.
We here at the Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center hope that you all are staying safe as we move through this pandemic and as it challenges all our economic, political, and social systems. The BHMACC’s cultural way of being models how we as a country can get through this crisis in unity and sanity.
In our efforts to help build a free and just civil society, BHMACC moves toward freedom, scholarship, diversity, artistic, and economic development for everyone. But whether it was our pre-COVID Friday night talent shows, the college representatives’ pep rallies that opened each College Round-Up, or even the fish fry’s after our events, we know that community coming together to make it all work for everyone and help get us through to the other side is what it takes.
The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center has always moved forward as a part of the collective community.
We hope that our holistic approach to serving all people uplifts the hearts and minds of those we serve. We hope those who can fund our work recognize that community responses to this current crisis closely reflect the model that we’ve been working from for almost two decades. We did not create the model, but we’ve been working it since our beginning.
Our model is not new. Black communities have been living collectively and benevolently since forever. It has been one of the ways that we have survived for centuries.
My grandmother was born in 1888, when I was a child she had been heading up a mutual aid benevolent society for decades. I looked forward to her having her ‘Society Meetings’ at her house each month. She allowed me to sit with them as long as I was quiet.
Each month at that meeting they each reported back on some aspect of community need; the government was trying to take someone’s farm for taxes, someone needed food and winter clothing for their children, a family’s breadwinner had passed away and the family was ‘on the verge’.
They would talk for a while and discuss the need to prioritize the situations before them, and based on how much was in the treasury, solve as many issues as possible. My grandmother would always pull out her purse to add to the treasury to meet those ends and leave no one out.
We are going to come out of this current adversity better and stronger. That’s why I am not going to talk about the virus, but I am going to talk about my idea to use it as a catalyst to make sure that the young people who are part of the BHMACC’s Young People’s Forum find a way to connect the study of Structural Biology to their “I Am Not Reference Man” project.
It is a project where young people learn about what regulators at government agencies and public officials base their ‘acceptable limits’ of environmental toxins and industrial waste on and who is harmed. They will learn how to organize to change current policies and who those regulated limits either harm (children, elderly, people with compromised health, our most vulnerable, people of color, the poor, women), or protect, (industries that create and emit toxic and radioactive waste).
The Young People’s Forum, (they range in age from 8 to 21 years old), works on projects and issues that interest them and help them grow in a number of areas. They are thoughtful young people who understand that the BHMACC is a vehicle for them to use. They are allowed to lead their own meetings and sessions. Their interests have brought them to the BHMACC table wanting to make documentaries and hold panel discussions about self-esteem, self-awareness, and environmental degradation in Black, Indigenous, and poor communities; develop podcasts that discuss timely topics such as their personal fears around police brutality, engaging in conversations with sports figures about their roles and responsibilities relative to the social justice movement; they plan to have virtual forums with other young people to discuss their platform. They will be learning how to catalog art and prepare it for archival storage and already have a project with an artist to catalog and prepare the work for archiving when the BHMACC can provide the training, materials, and small stipend for their time. They are writing scripts and creating story boards. They are keenly aware of the damage to human health and the environment done by the nuclear industry. Several of them have been taking part in marches, community work, and seeing first-hand the physical damage that radioactive contamination can do to the human body which has led them to their “I Am Not Reference Man” project.
Help us fund projects like these. Make recurring monthly donations, make a quarterly or yearly lump sum donation. Your support is how we will survive.
We rely on ‘people support’ primarily. You are our people. You are a part of this collective survival. We appreciate those of you who have recognized the value in our work all along. Donate, encourage others to join us in our work.
We bid you peace & blessings,
Founder & CEO BHMACC