As a community organization working to make a difference in Black Pasadena, I wanted to thank [you] for such an insightful article on Black Pasadena.
There are three areas highlighted in the article. Two of these areas are programs we have in place to impact - Education and Economics. This article really highlights the importance of our programs: Young Writers and Young Scientists which are targeted towards elementary/ primary grades. In the article, many programs are targeted for secondary schools, but by then it is too late. With this thought in mind, I wonder if there is more that we can/should be doing with to have a greater impact. In the area of Economics [we] have tracked Recycling Black Dollars as and we only have Black vendors at our Fashion Show/Luncheon fundraising event. We have done an Entrepreneurial Spotlight and recently did a Power Networking Event. We have also collaborated with the City of Pasadena on the Art of Small Business seminars to target 'our' community to help entrepreneurs get the skill sets that they need to stay in business.
These are all excellent things aimed at economics of the Black Community and Black entrepreneurs. We are having an impact, but I am requesting that our organization review what is good in these areas and discuss growth opportunities that will help grow our programs to have a greater impact on Black economics in our community.
The last area to be noted from this article is the lack of listening to the Black community that is currently taking place. The City Manager and other Councilmen appear to believe that the Black community does not care and they can make decisions that impact us with no push back. At the State of the Black Union 2009, Maxine Waters discussed how she has gone out to fight for her community, but often found her community didn't express their support of projects by being at the public meetings. She knew she was doing the right things for the community based on requests and meetings in the community, but having the community visibly present would have given her more power.
We have the ability to help build a presence from our community and help get the things that we need. We can represent, help get our neighbors to represent and get other community organizations to get involved. Stimulus money will find its way to Pasadena, the question is will it find its way to our community. If we play our cards right, the question will be how can we impact the political environment in Pasadena in order to help our community.