As many of you know, I’ve spent the past few months participating in something called the Anne Braden Program, an intensive training for white people like me who want to contribute powerfully to racial justice and ending white supremacy in our home communities. One project of this program is to choose a local organization led by people of color for whom to raise funds.
I want to share with you the organization I’ve chosen to fundraise for, in hopes of introducing you to their amazing work and cultivating a partnership with them and Lakeshore. Homies Empowerment is a grassroots organization that serves young people, families and the larger community of East Oakland. I’ve gotten to know them over the past 16 months, and they took special interest in sup-porting our friend Oscar as he was looking for work and community last summer.
Homies Empowerment is a community development organization that centers the lives and concerns of poor people in Oakland, many of whom are immi-grants. Modeled after the Black Panthers’ feeding programs, they are meeting direct needs of the community, especially in light of COVID’s impact. They offer free food, community care, COVID relief checks, leadership development and job opportunities. Their work is not to serve the poor, but to humbly stand in solidarity with the community so all members can thrive. They believe that every-one has a warrior, healer, hustler and scholar inside of us, and we are in the process of our collective emancipation.
I love this organization for the ways they invite everyone they encounter to be part of this work, from volunteers to employees to recipients to donors. Oscar and I both felt warmly welcomed every time we visited. My fundraising for Ho-mies Empowerment centers around three major projects. First, they have a FREEdom store from which they give away $40,000 weekly in groceries and diapers. Second, they have created a COVID relief fund that offers financial assistance to those hit hard by COVID. Third, they create job opportunities for those struggling to find employment.
The Executive Director of Homies Empowerment, Dr. Cesar Cruz, will be our guest at Bible Study on Tuesday, June 1, from 6-7 p.m. Many of Homies’ programs embody the Biblical mandates to welcome the immigrant and love our immigrant neighbors. I encourage you to come to Bible Study (via Zoom) to learn more about the amazing work they are doing and how we can work together. If you’d like to donate to Homies Empowerment, you can do so from their website.
You can earmark your donation for any of the three program I mentioned above, or simply give to the overall work of the organization. If you are able to make a donation, please let me know the date and amount, so I can track my fundraising progress.
I love the many ways Lakeshore supports our local community, and I look for-ward to introducing you to Homies Empowerment as another partner in this work.