The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation has experienced a phenomenal year and continues to grow into a stronger organization. Since the new leadership transitions, some board members have retired or ended their tenure leaving the next generation in charge. Empowered by the elders we are moving forward! We wanted to reach out to recent supporters and visitors and share our gratitude for helping us continue the legacy of Malcolm X. In 2019, we’ve experienced monumental growth:
We are now in the 3rd year of broadcasting Mind & Soul Radio, a low power FM station informing, educating and entertaining community members in the Omaha Metro Area. Our small 5-person team, runs seven local shows and four national syndicate broadcasts including Democracy Now! and Sheryl Underwood. The station also hosted its first major concert featuring R&B singer Donnell Jones right on the historic birth site grounds. You can always listen in locally on 101.3 FM or via the Tune-in app (search Mind and Soul).
For the 2nd year in a row the Shabazz Community Garden offered 21 garden beds to the community and with the participation of 70+ volunteers hand-lifting and moving 65,000 pounds of concrete, we’ve added 12 more community garden beds! The garden teaches and promotes organic gardening and offers all of the services and food FOR FREE to the participants. Find photos on our facebook page.
The Justice for Kids Initiative continues to address suspensions of Pre-K to 2nd grade students as well as the disproportionate discipline actions against Black students. From this initiative emerged the "Good Kids" Awards, which recognized children who improved in their behavior throughout the school year. The initiative also circulates an online petition for banning the practice of suspensions for Pre-K to 2nd Grade students in Nebraska which has gained almost 500 signatures to date. The University of Nebraska at Omaha assisted the Justice For Kids Initiative by creating an informative brochure for parents to be educated on school discipline processes. View news coverage here.
Additionally, we hosted the 2nd annual Sol Food & Music Festival featuring Jamaican recording artist Ras Takura and local artists and youth groups. Held in August, this event promotes health & wellness through poetry and food. In November, we launched the Black Wall Street Omaha project which supports local small businesses by offering free vending spaces in our visitor’s center. Other programming includes Community Yoga Classes and SHE CODE, a girls coding program to offer high-tech skills to an underrepresented demographic of youth. Lastly we partnered with the Alternatives to Violence Project to host monthly workshops training community members and formerly incarcerated individuals in conflict resolution.
Internally, we hired a Guest Supervisor (Educational Tour Guide) which has allowed us to open our doors at the visitors center 6 days a week. With this new position added in the past six months, we have attracted approximately 1,000 unique visits to our facility through programming, international tours and collaborations. Just think of what would happen if we had a full program staff and opportunities to execute more large scale events with national speakers, scholars and activists! As National Board President, I am extremely motivated by all of the visitors that we have been able to inspire with the dynamic history of the organization and new volunteers that have joined the organization. It truly shows that we are not only cared for by our community residents, but we are also encouraged to continue the work to train up the next generation to lead with resiliency and purpose.
In an effort to start the year off strong, the board would like to position itself to provide even more educational and self-empowerment initiatives. People can continue to support our efforts by donating to the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation and most importantly re-educate themselves on Malcolm X and what he truly stood for prior to his death. Misinformation regarding Malcolm X challenges our organization, so we spend a great deal of time teaching and re-educating individuals about the love Malcolm X had for the survival of Black people and it’s collective contribution to humanity. Our 2020 motto is: Be known for the work. This is what Malcolm would have wanted. He would have wanted us to gain the necessary tools to empower ourselves, to lead the next generation and stand strong in the face of adversity which surrounds us on a local, national and global scale. He would have wanted us to show up and truly get behind efforts that can propel us forward as a people. What work do you want to be known for?
If you want to be a contributing donor, you can send a check to the Malcolm X Foundation or give online through our website. If you want to lead with us, we have a few board positions open and you don’t have to live in Omaha to do so. If you want to show up and volunteer offering sweat equity, reach out to us (email our Vice President for interest in board roles and volunteering at malcolmxfoundation @ gmail.com). Regardless of where you stand, we still have a lot of work to do. But we are eager to answer the call.
Sincerely, The Next generation
Leo Louis II, National Board President JoAnna LeFlore, National Vice President Shari Thompson, Treasurer Angel Martin, Secretary Adrian Keegan, Board Member