June 16, 2019 ~ Father's Day
"In a Rich Man's World!"
I recall a conversation with my father when I was a young woman – a notion that my seven-year old grandson finds hard to believe. “Grandma, you were a little girl?”
We were driving along the I-90 Shoreway and as we were approaching the shell of a building at the 55th Street dock, I told my father of my vision for the space. “If I had the money, I would buy that building and convert it to restaurants and shops on the ground floor with a wrap-around deck overlooking the lake, and I’d put apartments on the upper floors.” My father glanced over at the building just as we passed. “Yep, that’s what I’d do if I had the money.”
Daddy shook his head and then said in his usual calm, “Mittie, you got big dreams. You should have been born to a rich man.” We both laughed. I was always touting my big ideas with no dollars to back them up.
My dad was not a rich man. He was a hard-working man who had carved out a humble but good life for his family. Prior to the coal mines closing, he and my mother owned and operated a little general store in our West Virginia hollow before relocating to Cleveland. It was his only option to the black-lung life of a miner – which was the plight of all the men of my maternal line.
You can read the rest of my Father's Day reflection which channel's "Mamma Mia" on the Ladybug Lessons Litanies and Lyrics page at www.kumbayashore.com In the mean time, I want to update you on the progress made from our funding campaign.
While I am most thankful for the 42 "Friends" who have contributed to our campaign through GoFundMe and directly to Kumbaya on the Shore by mail, June 1 has come and gone and we are only halfway to the halfway goal that would allow for a "soft opening" of the café for basic coffee shop service of hot and cold beverages, pastries and packaged goods while we continue to install the kitchen for full service.
I know it sounds simple, but can you say "occupancy permit... food service license?" Obtaining both required building a a wall to fully separate the bathroom from the adjacent kitchen, framing new bathroom entrances that are ADA compliant, and installing the three compartment sink for minimal food service.
So, that's where we are with a long way to go - plugging along toward the vision outlined below, "working while we wait," (see update link on that story below) just keeping it moving while waiting for Mamma Mia's "money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man's world."
Thanks for visiting our GoFundMe page, and please pass this link on to your network of family, friends and associates who may consider supporting our Kumbaya Campaign.
~ Mittie Imani
$10,000 for Kumbaya, please!
May 5, 2019
$10 and Good Laugh and Good Advice from Good Friends
At the end of April, I sent out an email to family, friends, patrons and associates announcing the launch of this Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds needed to complete work required to open the café at Kumbaya on the Shore. The response has been – shall we say – slow but improving. I am hearing from friends both on and off line with promises of donations. I'm thankful.
In the meantime, I’ve gotten a few pieces of good advice from good friends who plan to contribute:
1. “Mittie, you do not launch a fundraising campaign at the end of the month when all your friends are as broke as you.” Point well taken.
2. Be specific about what I need from each of you and when. So, here we go!
If everyone on my fundraising list sent $10 by May 15, I’ll have the funds I need for a soft opening of the café on June 1. I’ll tell you more about that, soon, so save the date. If you can donate more, thank you, because there will be those who can only donate $5, or not at all.
3. “Your page is boring. Do a video!” In the words of my little "Boondocks" brother (and Trevor Noah and "Lil Trevor") “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
But for now, let me tell you about Kumbaya, and my need for $35,000 - $10,000 of which is needed immediately to keep moving toward its full potential while exploring traditional funding options.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs in this post are by M. I. Jordan.
Kumbaya on The Shore
a place for peaceful pastime
"We may not have a place to hitch your horse yet, but we are a pedestrian, bike, car and bus friendly stop on the Lake Erie Circle Coastal Ohio Tour!" M. I. Jordan. Photo by Zachary R. Williams
Vision: To become the northwestern commercial anchor establishment of Cleveland’s Northshore Collinwood arts and beachfront community; to become a premier destination tourist stop on the Lake Erie Circle Tour and Coastal Ohio Bikeway Trail; to provide employment opportunities for neighboring residents; to provide “a place for peaceful pastime” for locals and tourists, alike, and doing well while doing good by “feeding the mind, body and soul.”
Established in 2017, Kumbaya on the Shore is the offspring of Deuteronomy 8:3 Café, Books & Music which was “urban removed” in the interest of corporate controlled community development after 14 years of business in the historic, black-built and formerly black-owned Medical Associates Building on East 105 Street in Glenville’s Wade Park Magnolia neighborhood.
Storefront at Deuteronomy 8:3 Cafe Books & Music Photo by Jeff Ivey
In addition to daily offerings of books, pastries, soups, sandwiches, and the inspiration for the business name - the founder’s popular Amish recipe-based “Fellowship Bread” - D8:3 programmed and presented book signings, art exhibits, live music, cultural celebrations, film screenings, and extended spring and fall book discussion series bringing college faculty from throughout Ohio and beyond to serve as guides for critical thought and conversation. D8:3 was also a setting for community meetings and programmed and hosted seven restorative justice summits – an initiative that led to the formation of The National Institute for Restorative Justice. All programming was presented free and open to the public without the benefit of government, corporate or foundation funds.
Deuteronomy 8:3 Cafe
Friday Night Live at D8:3 with saxophonist Lance Bryant Photo by Jeff IveyBooksiging at D8:3 with Michael Eric Dyson Photo by Jeff Ivey
Open Mic at D8:3 with Josiah Quarles Photo by Jeff Ivey
It's successor, Kumbaya on the Shore, sits in between Cleveland’s trendy beach front residential community and historic Waterloo Arts District, one block northeast of the second smallest Great Lake, and on the popular Lake Erie Circle Tour and Coastal Ohio Bikeway Trail.
Kumbaya is a three-faceted enterprise with each supporting the other through overlapping patronage. As well, its development and programming are a three-phase work in progress, already enjoying patronage and civic support from neighboring residents, businesses and the area’s community development corporation.
Phase I: Ladybug by the Beach, a 500 square-feet apparel, gift shop and gallery opened in December 2017 as a seasonal boutique stocked with holiday gifts, children’s books, ladies clothing and home décor under the theme of Winter Wonderland.
In the spring of 2018, the Winter Wonderland theme was followed by a Fun in the Sun beachy clothing and accessories theme, with gifts and home décor geared toward the summer wedding season.
On August 28, 2018, Ladybug opened its first gallery exhibit, "The Dreamer's Dream" an historical retrospect composed of campaign paraphernalia, letters, publications, photographs and memorabilia from the M. I. Jordan collection, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the nomination, election and inauguration of Barack H. Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.
Ladybug by the Beach "by and by." The ultimate plan for Ladybug by the Beach is to establish a souvenir and gift shop of lake / beach themed novelties, and to exhibit and sale artwork and handcrafted goods by local, national and international artists, primarily of the African diaspora.
Photos by Christine Jordan Morrow
Wire Sculpture by Augie Nkele
Photo by Corey Alston, Basket by Allen Green, West African market fan
Phase 2: Kumbaya Café is the heartbeat for Kumbaya on the Shore as it will drive the traffic for the entire venue and programming in the tradition of neighborhood corner eateries serving a brunch buffet, and sandwiches, salads, soups, soft beverages and baked goods through the remainder of the daily operating hours.
Like its predecessor Deuteronomy 8:3 Café, it will also program movie nights and live performances of music and spoken word, special events, and quarterly book and film discussion series in partnership with the National Institute for Restorative Justice.
Additionally, Kumbaya Cafe will host the “Rogers & Woolridge Saturday Auction, Sales and Salon,” a live, commissioned auction of select estate sales of household furnishings, goods and art; and a monthly Thursday night “Cultural Cuisine and Conversations” featuring guests with African, Asian and European diasporic heritages from around the globe.
While pursuing traditional funding options, $10,000 is immediately needed to complete work in the kitchen and food service area in order to open the Café.
With approximately two thousand square feet, the Café is divided into three distinct areas with dinning / lounge seating for 50, or theater style seating for 100:
Northeast entry food service area with self-serve hot and cold beverages and pre-packed snacks; sales counter / staff serve area for kettle soups, fresh salads, sandwiches, pastries and juice bar. Counter and table seating for ten.
Center lounge / stage area with seating for forty at center tables and side room chairs, a south wall stage and screen for live and visual performances.
And a Southwest kitchen area with adjacent storage area and staff bathroom.
Additional exterior front and side patio seating is available when weather permits from late spring to mid-fall.
Funds needed for work to be done: Formerly housing a beauty supply store, as of April 2019, the center lounge area has been cleaned, stripped of wall to wall pegboard and lumber, decorated with theme painting, wall paper and artwork, the stage constructed, and seating arranged.
In addition to basic cosmetics, and the servicing and installation of the restaurant equipment (which was stored for over a year while finding a new venue), the following work remains to be done in the kitchen and food service areas:
Electrical wiring /outlets: Run wiring and install kitchen and food service, and stage area outlets. Plumbing to hook up sink, dishwasher, stove / hood, fryers and grill. With the exception of customer-view salad and pastry units, and additional small appliances for hot beverage self-service, all equipment is on hand.
Update the staff and guest bathrooms on the premises, one located at the rear of Ladybug by the Beach, the other, between the stage and kitchen areas of Kumbaya Café. A faux wall needs to be built to fully separate the kitchen from the one at the rear of the Café.
The remainder of the funds raised will be used to secure start up salaries for the operation. Once the Café opens, the expectation of the business plan is to provide full-time opportunities for seven employees, and additional part-time opportunities for Thursday – Friday evening, and Saturday programming.
Phase 3: Kumbaya Artists-in-Residency
With public and parochial K-8 schools merely steps away, the ever increasingly popular Waterloo Arts District around the corner, and a proprietor academically and professionally rooted in arts educational program development and administration, Kumbaya is a natural venue for hosting professional artists-in-residence in partnership with the schools and arts organizations.
Complimenting Waterloo’s primarily Anglo-centric artists and venues, and St. Jerome School’s hosting of City Music’s classical concerts of European composers, Kumbaya will feature national and international visual, performing and cultural handcraft artists primarily of African and Native American descent. Each residency will include an exhibit or performance by the artist, with hands-on activity classes for the students.
Basket Sewer Corey Alston at 2017 Hilton Head Gullah Festival Photo M.I. Jordan
That’s the summary of the plan.
Please take a moment to visit our website, consider a donation and sharing this fundraiser with family, friends and associates who may be inclined to do the same.
Finally, something about the name, Kumbaya: Since the hippie generation adopted the song in the 60’s, the word/term Kumbaya has gotten a bad rap as a naïve, utopic existence impossible to attain. The great irony is that the meaning of Kumbaya is contrarily quite the opposite.
Derived from the south sea-island Gullah people’s prayerful song of “come by here, Lord”—translated in their dialect to “cum ba he’ah, lawd,” Kumbaya is a plea for help when in distress: ‘someone’s crying, Lord, come by here, someone’s praying, Lord, come by here.’
Choosing not to continue business under the banner of Deuteronomy 8:3 which referenced God’s favor and commands for people wandering in the wilderness, one Sunday morning the song chose me when our retired elder Reverend Bob Tolbert paused in the middle of a prayer and called it out. “Kumbaya, Lord. Kumbaya.” I knew that was it—the name for my new enterprise. Kumbaya.
Where ever I am, and in all that I do, I want the Lord’s presence. And for those who want to reminisce of a plea for a utopic, “place of peaceful pastime,” then let it be their Kumbaya.
Thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing you on the shore.
~ Mittie Imani
To date, twenty-eight kind friends and family members have contributed to my campaign both on and offline. Donations have ranged from the $10 requested of each person receiving my email to $500 (generously donated anonymously) that put me right at the 20% mark this past Friday. The kind gifts have come from California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Indeed, I am grateful to each donation.
This crowdfunding endeavor has been humbling in so many ways. Not just the down side of humiliation that comes with having to hold my hand out for help - something that those of you who know me well, know does not come easy for me - but humbling in an uplifting way that comes with reading the comments from friends and family who have expressed absolute confidence in me and my plan for Kumbaya while donating to my efforts. Your kind, encouraging and challenging words have left me a bit speechless, which is -as you also know – another something that does not come easy for me.
With your “wind beneath my wings” I move forward. I am still a far cry from my $10,000 goal by June 1, so I reach out again to those of you who are able but have not yet committed a donation to my Kumbaya, please campaign. Please consider doing so.
Working while I wait, I am excitedly “putting flesh” on programming for a celebration of historical significance during this multi-million-dollar purse horse racing season. Also, on this past Saturday during my “Drive Like a Mother’s Day Sale,” I confirmed an upcoming exhibit with a phenomenal jewelry artist, as well as my first Rogers & Woolridge Saturday Auction, featuring a private collection of over 300 designer purses. Look forward to hearing more about all three of these events in forthcoming emails.
In the mean-in-between-time, please take a moment to visit Kumbaya’s website and GoFundMe page linked below. And please know that I deeply appreciate your support in whatever form it comes – donations, words of encouragements, thoughts and prayers. I look forward to seeing you soon on the shore.
~ Mittie Imani
Please note that per the terms and conditions of the GoFundMe platform, “no raffles, sweepstakes, giveaways, or returns on investment are offered in exchange for any donations made to [Kumbaya’s] GoFundMe campaign”