Snuck into the Hill District Consensus Group (HDCG) meeting yesterday having missed the update on the grocery store, but did get there in time to hear Dr. Emma Lucas Darby, HDCG board member, make the following announcement: as part of the Community Benefits Agreement negotiated by the One Hill Community Benefits Coalition, there is a college scholarship available for youth living in the Hill District. Dr. Darby also announced that on November 11th at 5:30 at the there will be an information session on how to enroll in college. For both topics, please follow-up with the HDCG. The meeting closed out with Mr. Carl Redwood saying “30%, 20%, Curtain Call and Dollar-A-Car”, which is a chant for the Lower Hill and represents “30% affordable housing, 20% businesses run by folks from the Hill District, the public art project “the Curtain Call” and that the Penguins should give a dollar a day for every car that pays for parking in the “Lower Hill” to a fund to benefit the Hill District. On the way out I spoke with a woman living in Crawford Sq. who is working on opening a new business and not sure where to place it and she was not aware of what the 20% reference signified, so the need to educate and organize continues.
Last night went to the Ujamaa Collective’s (UC) Open Mic and got to hear the second half of the evening’s inspiring and complex poetry from the likes of Joy KMT, Bekezela Mguni, a young MC whose name I didn’t capture and was spitting fire, Louis Collier with a recently released book and had the crowd laughing with a poem called “white girls”, the UC’s Executive Director, Lakeisha Wolf, Erin Perry, a brother who did a powerful piece on the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike of 1968 and Hotep The Artist making the audience think about domestic violence, birthing and other pleasurable experiences you can read about on Hillombo Uncensored. The evening’s featured poet and the H.I.’s own, Kim El, blessed the audience with a few of the monologues from her upcoming show “Straightening Combs”. Kim El will present Straightening Combs October 26th and 27th at the Hill House Association’s Elsie Hillman Auditorium, so be sure to come out. The baby of the bunch, I was even inspired to enter the circle and add a couple of poems (with hands shaking so bad I thought I might drop my phone). Unfortunately, I missed Ms. Renee Aldridge and a number of others who shared before I arrived. The affair ended well after midnight and folks were still hanging around and lingering is always a sign folks enjoyed themselves. If anyone can write in and add the names of folks from the first half of the evening and the folks whose names I missed, I’d be mighty obliged.
Policies have a lot do with where resources flow and that’s critical. Arts experiences help make hearts, minds and relationships and some say it’s hearts, minds and relationships that, for better or worse, produce policy, neighborhoods and communities. Here’s to more arts in the Hill.
A good day…