By China Boynton
Ashanti Cultural Arts & Enrichment Center, a Pompano Beach based non-profit known for their dance performance artistry throughout Broward County, used its art to move people in a different way.
At the organization’s “Creative Bridge to Social Justice” events this summer, there weren’t dancers, but there were activities, discussions, and initiatives to uplift the community and help access affordable housing, careers, and activism .
At the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, 520 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., attendees enjoyed live music from the Valerie Tyson Band, a communal art experience, a panel discussion led by community leaders, and assistance with affordable housing, career searches, and activism at their June, July, and August events respectively.
The first workshop discussion focused on empowering the community to access their own needs as it relates to housing, especially in northwest Pompano. Other events included wealth acquisition, businesses and jobs, and voting and criminal justice activism.
Owner and founder of Ashanti Cultural Art & Enrichment Center, Linda Jones, said that she hopes that the events were enlightening and sparked the seeds of activism in the hearts of those who attended.
“We wanted people to be engaged in the information so that when they leave, they will have a plan and will be able to access the things that they need,” Jones said.
The housing event was extremely popular, with people lining up in the morning to attend the evening event. PNC Bank gave attendees an opportunity to fill out preliminary loan paperwork.
Ashanti Cultural Arts & Enrichment Center received a Community Foundation of Broward’s Art of Community grant to address social justice.
Sherry Brown Grovener, Vice President of Community Impact at the Community Foundation of Broward, said she looks for projects that bring the community together, give voice to issues facing our community and generate solutions to those issues.
“Over the past two years our arts’ focus has been using the arts as a tool to advance social justice in our community and we are delighted that Ashanti Cultural Arts was one of the recipients of a grant to make that happen,” said Grovener. “When it comes to social justice, there are many battles within the fight. So we are trying to empower people to stand up and give voice to their struggle so that we can solve problems and bring about change.”
Also coming out to support her district was Vice Mayor Beverly Perkins at the June event. “What Ashanti Cultural Arts is doing with social justice is needed because there is always a need for housing,” Vice Mayor Perkins said. “I have four condos/apartments coming up in my district and one set of single-family homes in my district that I’m trying to push forward to get done.”
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