10 Years Deep, Towards Our Rainbow

I was 25 years old, still in school on track to get my bachelors with two toddlers, on welfare while working full-time doing a variety of jobs. I was living in the poorest congressional district in the country as I had been displaced out of lifelong community die to gentrification and to top it all off I found myself abandoned by the father of my children because everything was just "too hard" for him. Then the youngest of my two daughters started breathing funny, her lips turned blue and she was hospitalized for a week including two days in the NICU. I later found out she had asthma. Asthma didn't run in our family. Where did this come from? I found myself getting bigger and bigger despite being an active person. I could barely afford the healthy food I needed to keep her healthy. I was stressed out dealing with a social service system that treated me as if I was a criminal for needing help. I was getting very little help from the father of my children financially or otherwise. There were days I went hungry so my kids could eat, studied by candlelight because my lights had been cut off and I was experiencing microaggressions at work...when I was working. I didn't understand I was doing everything right. Why was this happening to me? Why were there so many moms and children who looked like me with a similar story at the welfare office? Or worse women who had given up because they felt they had none of the support they needed to push through?

Then I found a local organization that changed my life, that combined with my family helped me to build a community that supported me and helped me to thrive. But what of us those that have little support, that are caught in a cycle of poverty, violence, and marginalization with few resources? It takes 10 years to create and walk a path out of poverty. Too many Black women and children can't wait that long and don't have access to the financial, emotional, spiritual or mental supports needed to do so and the cycle continues. 

I decided to take my lived experience, my new found skills as an organizer, my educational capital and chutzpah to create a new way for women and their children. In 2009 I created the BLK Projek. In the last 9 years I have mentored and hired more than 10 women, this doesn't include the countless female contractors who have come to help build this organization , we've created a Libertad Urban Farm; a 5,400 square foot lot we turned into a radical food growing green space that has hosted numerous events that politicizes and support families in the Bronx and NYC. South Bronx Mobile Market is a clean energy vehicle with solar panels, and a retro-fitted engine to run on veggie oil and does nutrition education and distributes healthy food. We are in the third year of our SBMM Buying Club, creating access to healthy, locally grown food that feeds our community AND supports local rural farmers. We have had four Not Just Talk Summits, a yearly multigenerational conference that centers the narrative, experiences, and work of women, youth and children. 

Our gains have not been without struggle that has often made me think of quitting and shutting down. I have often worked without a consistent staff making capacity difficult. It took 6 years to find a home for Libertad Urban Farm, funders often said no more than yes and I had to work on an operating budget of $40-60,000 feeding my children on a SNAP budget to fill the gap and two years ago after finally creating a successful urban farm we were robbed by a community with substance abuse issues, multiple times, leaving the space will nothing. 

Yet, we have prevailed. I have a staff of four who are amazing women of varied life experiences. We have doubled the budget finally making it over the 100k threshold! We rebuilt Libertad Urban Farm and have hosted 60 summer youth employment teens for two years, had multiple events, built a gazebo, a chicken coop and added beautiful community art. Going into our 10th year we have realized it is time for the next stage of growth. We are rebranding and changing our name. In 2019 we will be officially known as The Black Feminist Project. 

Along, with a new name, we are expanding. As we enter our second decade we are metamorphosizing with an updated mission, new staff, a new bus for the South Bronx Mobile Market and a rollout of new programming including our #comethrujoy event series and Sis, Do You, a youth development program for disempowered girls and young women.  The Black Feminist Project is about to be LIT! And we need your help filling in the gaps. 

We currently have a $160,000 budget and we are going to match that (speaking it into existence)! This will enable us to keep on our current staff on at a living wage (we gotta walk our talk, living wages for Black women is revolutionary) while expanding our programming. This is the year of Black Girl Magic and Leadership in the flesh. With many Black women and girls taking the lead and making it happen. Help us continue to make that come to fruition by funding radical programming that restores agency to the most marginalized of us, centers our narratives, promotes safety, empowers us to put ourselves FIRST, and enriches the lives of our children in our community with compassion, integrity, and joy!

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  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 3 yrs
  • Carol Glidden
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anne Herrmann
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Mabel Lujan
    • $30 
    • 3 yrs
  • Aidan Metzger
    • $5 
    • 3 yrs
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Fundraising team (3)

Tanya Denise Fields
Raised $14,282 from 207 donations
New York, NY
Naomi G
Team member
Raised $675 from 10 donations
Tendaji Ya'Ukuu
Team member
This team raised $151,452 from 2217 other donations.

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