On Aug. 1 and 2, the Community Empowerment Association, Inc. held its 6th Black Family Reunion Festival at Mellon Park. It is an affair that promotes urban peace, justice and empowerment.
I was in attendance with about 5,000 others, and excluding an incident that took place outside, all had a good time.
|LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK
There were vendors galore. Some were selling house plants, clothes, food, jewelry, ice balls, ribs, books, Final Call Newspapers, and other things. There was even a discussion about G-20 coming to Pittsburgh and if there are any benefits for the families, particularly those in attendance that day.
I arrived at the park early, because I wanted to be able to discuss with T. Rashad Byrdsong, the CEO and founder of CEA, how this idea originated. He reflected on how it all began by back in 1994 when he realized that something had to be done to reduce and prevent violence in the Homewood area. Byrdsong then proceeded to explain that the mission of the CEA is to build, foster and empower individuals through gainful employment, education, housing, economic development and family support services. He paused and looked at the people that were coming—mothers, babies, grandparents, young, old and middle age, and said, “This festival is just another way for us to build families and communities.”
There was a group of young men setting up tables, hanging banners and helping direct vendors and generally busy. I questioned who they were. Byrdsong was delighted that question was asked and he began to explain the latest project of CEA. He said that the major mission is to help restore, reclaim and transform young Black males and adults to the realization of leadership, and the most important component is the establishment of a council of Black elders who will teach and train these them.
Congratulations to T. Rashad Byrdsong and the entire staff of CEA for a job well done.
Please remember the youths at Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)