The Leimert Park organization creates a festive environment while educating the community.
By Megan Reed
It can be hard to get people to come out to events where they can learn about finances, credit, wills and trust, life insurance, healthy living, etc. Those are vital services that are available right here in the community, but the organizations that provide them are often overlooked, causing the resources to go unused.
The We Can Foundation in Leimert Park has figure out how to link people to the resources.
“Folks like to be entertained,” said Dr. Clarence Eziokwu Washington, vice president of the We Can Foundation.
The We Can Foundation created the Stop the Killing concert series, which is held on the final Saturday of the month, the day before the Leimert Park Art Walk. This concert is part of a series of anti-violence community awareness events. The event features Ali Ali and The Stop the Killing Band. After guest speakers present the resources that they have to offer, the band, who’s members have played with Cool and the Gang, the Gap Band, and Rose Royce, play the hits from the 1960s and 1970s.
This event is festive, which differs from attending community meeting.
“How do we touch the masses? We’ve alway been reached through song,” Washington said. “It’s always festive events. And it doesn’t cost anything. We’re outside, people feel relaxed, and people feel safe. People can come out to listen to good music, but before you get the music, there’s going to be interaction and information.”
At the July concert, presenters spoke about ways to increase credit scores; how to create a will and trust so that an elder’s children do not squander their inheritance; the importance of life insurance; and how people can participate in the creation of a community market.
When people attend this event, they learn about community organizations that may go unnoticed by the masses.
“A lot of people don’t know about Healthy African American Families, a lot of people don’t know about The National Alliance of Mental Illness (also known as NAMI Urban L.A.),” Washington said. “These organizations do a lot of outreach to the community. Here, we want the community to come to a center where we can aid them in whatever they need.”
Washington invites professors and professionals form various industries, and he invites community leaders, activist, and people who have resourses for the community to speak at this event. But he is selective when it comes to who gets time on the microphone.
“How is this going to benefit the community? I’m not dealing with self-serving people,” he said. “If people come with the intention of being truly supportive of the community, then you’re welcome. And I’ll check to see if a person is fly by night or scamming. I don’t have time for that. I just don’t want to waste anybody’s time.”
Washington also invites people who have had checkered pasts, but cleaned up their lives. He does this to influence the youth to stay positive.
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