Nยบ02 - MAY 2019
The Food Issue(s) "West Broad Elementary"
Troy Copeland "Season to Taste"
Letter from the Editor
his issue of Highlight magazine focuses on the food industry in Athens, GA and why black food matters. We shine a light on individuals that contribute to and influence the industry in “the Classic City.” Motivated by their history and culture, these entrepreneurs pride themselves with the tasks to innovate and problem solve. Black food is more than how it has been stereotyped over the years. While watermelon and fried chicken have been caricatured as pillars of African American food, in reality there are a lot more recipes and traditions that represent black culture--hence our cover. Everyday food that most Southerners appreciate is either influenced by, or came from, black culture. In this issue, we debunk these long supported caricatures. The process of bringing organized awareness to the rich variety of black cuisine has begun. In January 2019, Rashe Malcolm, owner of Rashee Cuisine, started The Athens Winter Market. The market was a jumpstart campaign to fundraise the launch of The Culinary Kitchen of Athens. Shortly after Rashe, along with a group of experienced and successful food entrepreneurs, started The Culinary Kitchen of Athens. Sponsors including Northeast Georgia Business Alliance, Jittery Joe’s, Athens Downtown Development Authority, Athens Chamber of Commerce, and Cosmic Delivery have come together in supporting The Culinary Kitchen of Athens. The Culinary Kitchen of Athens is an incubator program located downtown. It provides the skills necessary for small established businesses to prepare and learn how to compete as commercial retail vendors.
The Culinary Kitchen of Athens provides affordable shared spaces that allows participants to learn the skills of the food business, partake in material sharing, and master presentation style. These participants become more business-minded and learn how to navigate in the market. Provided with free resources and exposure, The Culinary Kitchen of Athens teaches them how to take their product to the next level. Organizations like The Culinary Kitchen of Athens give space for people that are trying to grow their food business. Being a food entrepreneur is hard. You have to manage a lot of tasks. Operations and objectives like knowing what to sell, licensing, leasing, wholesaling, transportation, USDA regulations, and time management stress vendors into living on a prayer. In a way that's ok, because the knowledge gained by these leaders can be preserved, documented, and followed by future generations. As it focuses on the economic need of small businesses, The Culinary Kitchen provides affordable, community shared spaces to help established small businesses focus and learn how to remain self-sustaining. We have gathered interesting voices to lead us into an exploration of the food industry in Athens. Among them are vendors like Jasmyn Reddicks with VTasteCakes and Precious Jones with MePlus Tea who operate in the Culinary Kitchen. Likewise you will meet seven-year-old food entrepreneur, Aden, who operates from home. Others will simply tell you to walk in their home and have a seat and wait on a plate. These perspectives, though unique, can demonstrate why a platform like The Culinary Kitchen of Athens is needed, and why black food matters. HIGHLIGHT
ContentS Rashe Malcolm 2 Aden little 4 Jasmyn Reddicks 6 Bryant Thompson 8 Haregu Bhatu 10 Karli Freeman 12 WIlla Fambrough 16 Precious Jones 18 Minority Business 20 Directory West Broad school 21 Letter to editor 22 around town 24 season to taste 26 Troy Copeland
Highlight Magazine Editor & Publisher Lamon Carson
Contributors Malcom Brown Marketing Director Troy Copeland Writer/Copy Editor
Rashe Malcolm Owner Of Rashe's Cuisine
What are some of the challenges food entrepreneurs face when wanting to start a food business? Capital is the primary challenge. What is your most memorable achievement through your efforts/work in this community? When I stepped out on faith and realized I was able to feed my family off my own business. If someone has an emerging restaurant business what resources are available to legitimize themselves in the industry? Honestly, in our business you can get all the press you want, but nothing solidifies your business like word of mouth. It can make or break you. What influences does Caribbean /Jamaican culture have on black food in the U.S.? That’s one of those loaded questions from my experience. Island food is traditionally a fusion of cultures that make up that particular island. The same can be said for food made by blacks in the U.S. The prime example is blacks cook differently depending on where their from in the U.S. or their cultural background. I like to say our differences are spice vs seasoning. Lol. Do you feel food is a essential part of identity and culture?
and my education lead me right back to understanding I’m an entrepreneur. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Of course it was called by many other names (lol), but they worked hard to provide for themselves and their families by any means necessary. What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? Rashe’s Cuisine continues to evolve and now that I am the Director/Founder of The Culinary Kitchen of Athens the future is to cement The Culinary Kitchen of Athens as a micro-enterprise program that provides the necessary skills for helping low to moderate income, small, established businesses to prepare and learn how to compete as a commercial retail vendor through class, material sharing, and presentation style partnerships. What is sorrels and what can you relate it to in American drinks? Traditionally, sorrels is a Christmas drink that’s sweetened and mixed with rum. Unless you have diabetes or flair ups, then sorrels helps by being an anti-inflammatory, protecting the body from oxidative damages. Many Americans will see sorrels and say “oh, that hibiscus I grow that in my backyard “ Mexicans call it “Jamaica” and you can find it in any Mexican neighborhood store. Who taught you how to make it?How is it made and are there any popular variations for adults and kids? Does Sorrels offer any added health benefits?
Absolutely, how many times have you ever heard “that doesn’t taste like my grandmas!” “Who made the potatoe salad?” My favorite, “are you a real Jamaican?”
My sister in law Yvonne “Angie” Steen who still resides in Hanover, Jamaica was the first to teach me about getting that perfect rum ratio. My mother in-law Cynthia Ramsey in Brooklyn, NY by way of St. Andrews, Jamaica , however is the reason why you enjoy the flavor you enjoy today. She taught me to perfect and appreciate the medicinal benefits of Sorrel.
How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? In my situation, my influences shaped my experiences, my experiences lead me to seek more education,
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Aden Little Owner Of Aden's Royal Lemonade & Cookies
What made you want to start a business? Who inspired you? I wanted to start a business because I wanted to buy video games and help people who didn’t have what I have. My mom always helps others and my parents told me to always give when you can. My mom and dad inspire me the most. What are some of the hardships you have faced as a young entrepreneur in the food industry? Having to manage my time between school, sports and the business. It’s a lot at times but with my parents help I am able to do a lot. What’s the history behind the ingredients you cook with? My recipe is a secret family recipe. We came up with it one summer for a picnic we were having and I shared it with some of my friends and they liked it. Can you share the lineage behind your recipes and where they came from? It’s a secret but the main ingredient is love. Without love nothing tastes good. My blend is all natural fruit no artificial flavoring, sugar or sweetening are used How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? Seeing my mom and dad work on their businesses has given me the drive I have to do what I do. I’m seven almost eight running my own company. My mom and dad help me a lot and teach me how to be responsible and respectful. What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? I’m working on furthering my brand, being a better business person, and marketing my business. I just recently started selling my T-shirts and hats along with other merchandise all available on my site. I have some pop up shops coming soon and I’m usually posted after practice with some lemonade. This upcoming summer I have pop up shops lined up at The Forest Lodge Of Athens. I will be attending Hot Corner and many more. You can always go to my website and place orders as well. You can reach me via social media on instagram at Adenswish or Aden’s Royal Lemonade and Cookies on Facebook. You can order lemonade or cookies from any of those pages or my online store adenswish. bigcartel.com. HIGHLIGHT
Jasmyn Reddicks Owner Of Vtastecakes
What made you choose Vegan?
South, many people still have a bad stigma against such diets. My mission is to create a cupcake for everyone. One with a That’s the main reason why I wanted to help educate people balance between sustainability and the amazing flavors here on how eating more of these foods can really reward them in a compelling way. I want to focus on impacting our environment in the South! in a beneficial way by using plant-based products. Lastly, I Where are your recipes curated from? wanted to show that vegan foods can be just as good, or better These recipes are completely made from scratch! They’re than the norm! a combination of my family’s traditional recipes, my own How have your experiences, education and influences led creativity, and research. My team and I spent several months you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? perfecting the recipes into what they are today. One of my I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and favorite flavors is our lemon zest which consists of my family’s that everyone has a purpose. My experiences--from growing secret recipe, topped with a refreshing lemon icing. Growing up in a small rural town, to attending a HBCU, to transferring up I’ve always enjoyed fresh squeezed lemonade, so creating a to the University of Georgia--have sculpted me into becoming dessert made with fresh lemons was a must! the creative, confident, determined woman I am today. How did you get your ingredients? Likewise, the support I have received from my family, friends, Many of our ingredients are purchased fresh from Athens, and and community has been amazing. It has not been an easy our special ingredients we purchase online. We use organic road, but I am truly thankful for each person that believes unbleached flour, organic sugar cane, and vegetables such as: in me and my dream! All of the support has inspired me to squash, pumpkin, and beets to keep our cupcakes moist, fluffy, continue pushing forward to see what God has in store for my and rich! We have found that by incorporating vegetables, we business next! were able to lower our calorie count for each cupcake and add How can people get involved or reach you? a burst of natural flavors! People can reach us, hear more about our story, and purchase Why did you adapt the recipes for a vegan lifestyle? our delicious cupcakes on our website at: www.vtastecakes. It’s important to normalize plant-based diets. Here in the com, follow us on social media to find out where we will be on our IG/ Facebook page: @vtastecakes.
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Bryant Thompson Owner Of Eat - A - Bite
How did you get into selling barbeque and your name? My whole family cooks barbecue. I learned a lot from my uncles--one here in Georgia and the other in Texas before his passing. Special thanks to my brother Randall Thompson for helping me get everything started. Everyone sold BBQ on the weekend in the neighborhood when I was coming up. It was a way of life. The name “Eat-A-Bite” is actually my uncle's restaurant out in Texas. Before he passed, I told him I would never let the name die and kept it going. I started catering in hopes to make a little extra money after my daughter was born. List some of the barriers and solutions you faced when entering the food industry? Some of the barriers are getting a building or place to sell food from. I decided to buy a mobile kitchen but ran into the situation of having a commissary to sell your food out of. So I started doing a lot of catering for organizations like UGA, ACCPD, churches, and family events. What’s your favorite part of the barbeque process? Without giving away secrets tell us what are some essential techniques and ingredients for good barbeque? I think my favorite part of barbecuing is when you first start the seasoning, getting the fire ready, making sure that the pit is good and hot. The rest of it's just sitting and waiting and looking after the meat, but overall the fire, is the most important. Good quality meat! It's the next thing that I look for. Then good seasoning and always use hickory wood. Old Hickory smells so good and will flavor meat very well. What do you find to be the most interesting process of cooking barbeque? I know how to pit cook and to smoke. I think smoking is the most interesting style of barbecue. If you don't have your fire right the only thing that you have is some uncooked meat. If you have your fire too high, you'll burn the meat. It'll be completely black and tough. If you get it just right you have good charred meat with a very interesting flavor. How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? I deal with people that have great spirits. That’s how I slay my business! You have to know how to deal with people and to talk to people. If you want to serve the public, always think how would I like for people to treat me as a business. Usually that’s how business goes if you serve customers the same way you would family. They will return that same servitude when they come to my establishment. What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? I would like to see my business grow into a brick-andmortar and do more catering for people. My email is email@example.com feel free to contact me!
Haregu Bhatu Owner Of Manaweenta What are some challenges and blessings of running a family owned restaurant? Blessings: Your children are familiar with preparing and serving dishes and running the restaurant. The challenge is that they have their own lives too and are not always available. At the same time because our restaurant is family-owned, the other employees become part of our family so they learn how things are prepared and served too. How is your culture expressed in black food in America? With the exceptions of the spices we use and how we prepare our dishes, I doubt that many African-Americans would feel unfamiliar with our meals. We tend to use our hands instead of forks and spoons. Our meals are family gatherings. How can people connect to African culture through food? How we prepare our dishes and serve them reflect the cultural traditions Eritrea and Ethiopia. Also, like some other African cultures and Middle Eastern cultures, we only eat with our right hand. What are the most essential Eritrea / Ethiopian ingredients and dishes? Our most essential ingredients are the seasoned butter we use; bebere, the chili powder like spice we use consists of at least 13 different herbs and spices. We also use other spices, teff flour, vegetables, meats and dry beans. Everything we use in our dishes is freshly prepared. Also we do not eat pork and we do not fry our foods. Most of our basic dishes are sauces and stews. All of our vegetable and bean dishes contain no animal fats. All of our dishes are served on and with injera which is a pancake like bread that we use instead forks and spoons. Some of our basic dishes are misser wot--a spicy bean stew, doro wot--spicy hot chicken drumsticks, and gomen wot--a stew consisting of collard greens. How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? I have always wanted to run my own business. As a young child I helped in stores owned by both my oldest brother and sister. I learned customer service skills from them as well as in my previous jobs as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) in Athens. As a CNA, I also learned a lot about nutrition and dietary requirements. In addition, I have done research about the nutritional and healing benefits of some of the herbs and spices used in our dishes. What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? I have my own business serving healthy food. But I have not achieved all that I would like to achieve. 1) I want to introduce all of Athens to healthy eating. 2) We are opened only for lunch and dinner. I would like to, in the future, add some of the breakfast meals of Eritrea and Ethiopia. 3) How we serve coffee is another tradition I would like to introduce to the Athens community. 4) Finally, I would like to eventually have my own building for Mannaweenta that is designed with a motif that incorporates sights, cultures and traditions of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Karli Freeman Owner Of Val's daughter food meal prep/meal prep
What role has soul food played for families over the years? What made you adapt those roles into a healthier lifestyle? Celebrating our culture is so deeply rooted in the various dishes we prepare and the recipes that are transferred throughout the generations. Soul food is such an integral part of the Black experience, dating back to one of the darkest periods of our history. In my family alone, from its preparation to plating, cooking has been the culmination of countless moments of joy and fellowship in spite of troubling waters. While I have amazing recipes that have been passed down to me from some of the best cooks I’ve ever known, I also had to recognize the generational health issues that followed. My love for trying new things partnered with my need for healthy alternatives has birthed some of my most popular dishes. What’s the history behind the ingredients you cook with? Any testimonials? I have stories for days of just being in the kitchen with my grandmother and acting as her little soul-chef while she cooked. So many of those memories were filled with hacks and secret ingredients that I’ve managed to carry on with me throughout my own menu, whether that be at home or for a catering event. It’s those key ingredients that have also allowed me to carry my grandmother’s memory with me in the food I prepare. If you only had one recipe to follow to create authentic soul food what would it be and why? Simple—love. You have to put your heart in those kinds of meals because I truly believe you can tell in the food when it’s not cooked with love. You might “get full” physically, but it’s those dishes that come from the heart that you remember where you were and who was there and how you felt in that moment. How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth by any means, therefore attending college definitely taught me how to survive while being broke. Eating out wasn’t always an option and I wasn’t making great money working part-time as a fulltime student. It was at that time that I realized knowing my way around a kitchen could benefit me and my newly found student family. What began as me cooking just to ensure I ate evolved into a small business once other people in my dorm caught wind of my skills. Eventually my dorm room became the “go-to” spot after parties or campus events when people were looking for cheap food that was actually enjoyable. What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? I would love nothing more than for my food truck to become a staple of service in my community. My vision was birthed here and I feel as though I owe the village that had a hand in shaping the woman I am today. That being said, I have a few projects in the development stages including feeding the homeless and elderly. Of course; those groups are some of the most undervalued and overlooked people in this world and I plan to do my part starting right here with my hometown. I’m also interested in establishing a program for underprivileged/ at-risk youth that offers culinary classes that will teach them how to prepare simple, healthy meals themselves. There are so many kids who only know fast food options, but I want to help change their perspective on food at an early age. I can currently be contacted for meal prep services, food truck events and private chef inquiries via Val’s Daughter on all social media platforms and phone at 404661-6108. HIGHLIGHT
C h e s s a n d C o m m u n i t y. o r g
Willa Fambrough Owner Of ICOOK_ieforyou
What role has baking/desserts played in black families over the years? What made you adapt those roles into your business? Remembering back to every family reunion and family gathering, whether on my dad’s side of the family or my mom’s, my aunts were some baking and cooking sisters. When our family visited each other the visit always ended with some tasty homemade desserts. Those were joyous time of the grown folks sitting on porches, or in living rooms and we kids played, sometimes, until dusk. But we always came together for pie, cookies, cake or some sweet deliciousness. Growing up, my cousins and I could feel the love that our families had for one another. For them the baking was a labor of love. When I tell people I love, love, love to bake, it’s totally from the heart. List some of the barriers and solutions you faced when entering the food industry? Back in 2012 or even earlier than that, people always told me what I baked tasted really good. I thought people were just being nice and polite. Being retired and having taken care of my parents for almost 6 years, a sister-in-Christ told me the Athens Land Trust was starting up a Farmers market in 2013 and was looking for people to sell their hand crafted, created, goods and vegetables. They were also offering classes for start up or ongoing businesses. This was the beginning of my journey to entrepreneurship and ownership of ICOOK_IEFORYOU. This is my 7th year of Grow Your Own Business classes. If it had not been for the classes, I would probably still be rambling around with very few clues of what to do or how to do. It’s seems as if, I had always been baking, but I was totally clueless on what to charge, what licenses I needed for a home based business.
Through the Athens Land Trust classes, I’ve gone from clueless to: knowing everything about pricing, serve-safe license, federal tax ID, Cottage food License, City Business License, ICOOK_ IEFORYOU TRADMARKED, from sole proprietor to LLC, how to actually keep books on the business and so much more. I’m hoping that somewhere on the West Broad School campus which houses the garden and Farmers market, there will be a community commercial kitchen, so people like me in the food service industry who are not yet considering a brick and mortar site can sell our products in retail. My journey was not as hard because there is help and there are solutions. If you only had one recipe to follow to create authentic black culture desserts what would it be and why? You can’t get gourmet if you use margarine. I think Land O Lake Butter is the closet thing to old fashion churn butter, you can get. My Mom, my Aunts used that churn butter and their recipes were rich and flavorful. The other ingredient is flavor, whether it’s vanilla or caramel that flavor need to be authentic to create that marriage between the butter and flavor to take you back to those family reunions or gatherings. How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today? Twelve years ago when I was employed at the Postal Service. I was baking with no intent or idea that I would own and operate a home based gourmet bakery business. My intent was to retire at 62, spend time with family and travel. With no formal training in the pastry and baking industry and no formal business or entrepreneurial training except at the Athens Land Trust, it will make you believe from my experience, in Divine Intervention. Do you feel food is a essential part of identity and culture? Food is absolutely that, because during slavery we were giving the cast offs of the meat from the chicken, pigs and cattle. We did so much with so little. We did so much with the cast offs the people in the main house were soon requesting those dishes in the main house. Also every culture identifies with some dish that’s done better than any other. How can people get involved or reach you?
Reach out to me at 706-207-9953 or 706-5481998 on Instagram as icookieforyou, icook_ firstname.lastname@example.org email. The grand opening of West Broad Farmers Market Garden and big May Day Celebration on May 4th. Contact Travis at the Athens Land Trust if people wish to be a vendor, volunteer or seeking to become an entrepreneur at 706-613-3966. Also parents call that same number to see if their are openings for your teens and young adults in either the Young Conservationists, Young Urban Builder’s or Young Urban Farmers. These are great for building life skills as well as being paid while you learn.
Precious Jones Owner Of Meplus Tea What role has tea played in black families over the years? What made you adapt those roles into your business?
hurdle we are currently facing is not operating out of a commercial kitchen space. In the near future this will be a mere reflection of what we endured to succeed.
Historically, black families utilized herbs for medicinal purposes. Today, more and more black people are returning to their ancestral roots and incorporating more natural home remedies to the medicine cabinet. MEplusTEA is a product of growing up helping my grandmother in her herb garden. If there was an illness she had a tea remedy. As a child I never thought I would benefit from the labors of gardening herbs but as a herbal loose leaf tea business owner, the youthful knowledge is helpful in knowing I’m producing tea blends with organic and high quality herbs.
If you only had one recipe to follow to create authentic black culture teas, what would it be and why? Because black culture has a remedy for everything, there isn’t one recipe to sum up who we are.
What’s the history behind the ingredients you include in your tea?
How have your experiences, education and influences led you to shape your entrepreneurial activities today?
I was born an entrepreneur. I was the child selling the pencils and snacks at school. I’ve had several successful business endeavors, including photography. Life lessons and business decisions has grown me into the well rounded business owner I am today.
The ingredients used in our tea blends are simple. We use organic and fair trade loose leaf teas from around the world blended with locally grown herbs. We have been fortunate to network with many local herb growers. By utilizing local herbs we are able to oversee the quality and production of the ingredients we blend with. List some of the barriers and solutions you faced when entering the food industry? We have faced many barriers, but the largest
What are your future endeavors and how can people get involved or reach you? My future endeavor is to open a local community tea room. Until then we can be found at West Broad Farmers Market on Saturday’s in May thru Dec. or online at www. meplustea.com.
LOCAL BREAD * LOCAL COFFEE LOCAL MEATS * LOCAL DAIRY LOCAL VEGGIES * FRESH DELI KOMBUCHA * BEER & WINE AND MUCH MORE! 523 PRINCE AVE | 706-548-1732 HIGHLIGHT
Minority Owned Business Directory Athens has a 35% poverty rate and that has to change. Sadly it wonâ€™t change overnight. Thus we created a Minority Owned Business Directory. With this directory, Highlight Magazine intends to help support Black and minority business ownership. Provide a marketplace where start-up businesses can promote, test, and sell their businesses. Stimulate economic development and increase diversity. Athens is full of entrepreneurs. Call them, tell them Highlight sent you, and see what deals they have to offer. Contact us through www. highlightathesga.com to find more local businesses or if interested in registering a business to the directory at MOBAthens. Business Name
Athens Gaming Theater Barnett Taekwondo Academy Betram's Exclusives Chalises Heavenly Inspired Classic Designs Gifts Deans Barber Shop Edward Jones Flawless Beauty Food For The Soul Haven Charities Inc. Her Fashion House Howard Janitorial Services Jimmy's Automotive Repair Kelly's Jamaican Lil Ice Cream Dude MEU Radio Payne Construction Commercial Peachy Green Clean Co-op Prominence Hair Company Real Good Car Wash Studio 74 Styling Shop Trend'Setta Kutz Troys Construction Company Weaver D's Sebastian Salon
Personal Fitness Center
Luxury Bath & Body Products
Barber / Beauty Shop
Soul Food Restaurant
Community & Civic Organization
Custom Clothing Design
Catering / Distribution
Barber / Beauty Shop
(706) 207 - 1519
Soul Food Restaurant
West Broad Street School What's going on with the old school located in the heart of Athens? For many, the West Broad Street School was a pillar of change in the 1960’s. An acknowledged monument to the pursuit of knowledge that both demanded yesterday’s courage and offers today’s promise. It housed the shared hopes of generations committed to the struggle of surviving and succeeding in a racially segregated, hostile world that once actively sought to stifle that change and limit its hope. Understanding the significance of fairness in access to quality education, enemies of “liberty and justice for all” either imposed or tolerated policy promoting inequities that negatively impacted the potential of African American children. Athens has come a long way since then. However, in some ways, it still has farther to go. Serving students and families representing a brilliant range of ethnicities and identities, the Clarke County School District faces new obstacles to overcome. These challenges demand a renewed commitment to fairness in facilitating educational opportunities. Our children, their teachers and administrators desperately need space. Crowded classrooms should never deny our most at risk and vulnerable children access to vital programs. Three proposal to utilize the West Broad Street School have been submitted. Athens Land Trust, Northeast Georgia Business Alliance, and Athens Clarke County Superintendent all have unique perspectives on what should be done with the school. After assessment it was concluded not enough Athenians that are affected by this decision are aware of it. Coverage of this topic is to simply bring the facts to the table. Organizations have presented proposals to utilize the school for community development. The Board of Education will vote on May 11, 2018. Northeast Georgia Business Alliance’s proposal submitted by Executive Director Shane Blackwell stated the following “The goal of the West Broad Center for Economic and Cultural Development is to support & develop microenterprise and business incubation through training, technical assistance, available space and market creations as well as to empower lowmoderate income residents, youth and lifelong learners through expanded public engagement that supports diversity and inclusion. the project will increase leadership and economic opportunities for underserved and underrepresented people within Athens, while revitalizing a designated “impoverished neighborhood” to its historical institution of excellence. An important aspect of the project provides a path to economic freedom for youth and low-moderate income residents of Athens. Entrepreneurs will have improved business skills and greater self-sufficiency. For supporters, the local economy will experience a higher rate of loan repayment and more job creation. For investors, the possibilities include market expansion, vendor development and an increase
in the bottom line. Full proposal available at https:// www.clarke.k12.ga.us/cms/lib/GA02209096/Centricity/ Domain/4/Shane%20Blackwell.pdf Athens Land Trust and West Broad Farmers Market proposal was submitted by executive director Heather Benham that highlighted the following: “The overall goal of the proposal we submitted is to create a space that meets community-identified needs. To determine what the needs were we asked the actual community who would be served - the surrounding neighborhood residents, including the youth and the elderly. The proposal is the result of conversations, learning trips to other communities, and working together to dream up solutions. We are proposing a formal partnership at the West Broad Campus between the Clarke County School District, the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, and the Athens Land Trust. CCSD would continue to be the owner and long-term steward of the West Broad Campus. ACC would provide $3.2 million in 2012 SPLOST funds that are designated for youth development. Athens Land Trust would bring matching funds to complete the project, become the long-term lesee, be responsible for the renovation of the property as a cultural heritage site with the Guidance of the community, would work with community organizations, groups, and members to determine the needed mix of uses and services to make the project meet community desires while remaining viable, and be responsible for the upkeep of the property over the term of the lease.” Full proposal available at https://www.westbroadrising.com/ Clarke County Superintendent Dr. Means submitted a proposal for the school. the executive summary detailed the following. "In short, the district is presented with significant needs from a facility perspective. Therefore, we must thoughtfully analyze every district facility to ensure the Clarke County School District has proper spaces to offer optimal teaching, learning and leadership services for every student. In summer 2018, the district administrative team engaged in a comprehensive review of what will be necessary to meet the needs of our P-12 students. The recommendations in this report outline a greater purpose for what we desire for all district facilities and their alignment with the CCSD strategic plan (see page 5 of the report). The Future Facilities Use Report provides a clear vision for the potential construction, renovation and maintenance of every educational facility in the district. It charts a clear intentional purpose for every building under the care of the school district, ensuring that comprehensive educational service is the central aim of each building's functionality." More at https://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/ cms/lib/GA02209096/Centricity/Domain/4/Clarke%20 County%20School%20District%20West%20Broad%20 Street%20School%20RFI.pdf
Letter to Editor Submitted by UGA President Jere W. Morehead
While I am disappointed, I am not surprised by the wildly inaccurate claims made in the letter submitted to my office yesterday by a small group of local activists. The University of Georgia handled the Baldwin Hall matter appropriately, and our response actually went far beyond what is required by the law. However, it is clear that a few individuals, obviously driven by a personal agenda, continue to try to leverage this issue and expand it to promote their own causes. Let me restate for the record that once the first remains were discovered on the construction site in November 2015, we immediately contacted the appropriate authorities. We followed the guidance of the State Archaeologist’s Office in every step of the process, including selection of Oconee Hill Cemetery as the site for reinterment. We hired an external archaeological consultant to perform the work in an appropriate manner, and we also sponsored faculty research to learn more about the individuals whose remains were discovered. We held a respectful memorial service for the community in March 2017, during which a prominent federal judge and local minister provided heartfelt remarks of remembrance. We commemorated the gravesite with a granite marker and provided funding to ensure its perpetual maintenance. In 2018, I commissioned a broad-based task force of community and campus leaders, led by Dr. Michelle Cook, UGA’s Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives, to develop a memorial to further honor the individuals whose remains were discovered on the Baldwin Hall site. The 18 members of this task force carefully considered all aspects of the tribute. In November, we dedicated this beautiful new monument in front of Baldwin Hall with a granite marker which reads in part: “The University of Georgia recognizes the contributions of these and other enslaved individuals and honors their legacy.” Since its dedication, the memorial has served on numerous occasions as a gathering place for reflection and remembrance. As President of this institution, I know the University has done what is right and has treated the remains of the individuals at Baldwin Hall with dignity and respect. I am troubled that many dedicated individuals—who represent a broad diversity of perspectives and backgrounds—have been maligned and personally attacked for doing their jobs in a responsible manner. Despite what some might claim, our faculty are free to pursue research of their choosing and to seek external grants for support. The libelous claim in the letter that I would ever have said, “The University does enough for Black students,” is equally preposterous. I care deeply about the University of Georgia, our faculty, staff and students, and I remain committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for every member of our community. We are in the midst of a fundraising campaign to benefit the institution, and we are actively raising funds for scholarships that meet legal requirements. While we are not permitted to provide race-based undergraduate scholarships, we have created 400 need-based Georgia Commitment Scholarships over the last two years. These scholarships are transforming lives across the state by enabling students with significant financial need the opportunity to attend the University. Going forward—with the support of our governing board, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents—I will remain focused on advancing the mission of this institution as I have done tirelessly for the last six years. submit your Letter: Highlightathensga.com/Projects HIGHLIGHT
Fred Sewell The Realtor
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Downtown Culinary Showcase
Spend your Tuesdays with The Culinary Kitchen of Athens at the Downtown Culinary Showcase! Gather everything you need for a week's worth of locally made nutritious food-and the well-earned desserts!-all while supporting your local small business community. Located in front of the historic Downtown City Hall, 4-7pm.
The CK of Athens Comedy Benefit Show
The Culinary Kitchen of Athens hosted a Comedy Benefit Show. A night of soul, indie, and hip hop music with a solid comedy lineup. The proceeds from the benefit show went to funding The Culinary Kitchen's upcoming incubator commercial kitchen space. Special guest; musical artists @djkountryboy, Tya Storyz, soul singers Adreanna Williams and hip-hop artist SqaullĂŠ. Comedy acts included Antwan Murphy, David Perdue and Sweet Baby Kita.
Athens Area Black History Bowl
On March 16, 2019. The 2019 Athens Area Black History Bowl was held at the Elizabeth G. King Gymnasium. Teams competed with each other on facts concerning Black History in Athens, Ga. Congratulations to Sheriff Ira Edwards and Clarke County Sheriff Office Possei, the 2019 Athens Area Black History Bowl Champions! Broderick Flanigan also showcased his art collection titled "Sitting With The Elders". Teams that competed: Atlanta ASALH "Know Thyself ", Clarke Middle School, Clarke County Sheriff Office Posse, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Youth Academy of In-Touch Management
Never Betray the Game Stop the Violence Celebrity Basketball Game
Celebrity Artist KD from Soul For Real participated in the game along with Citi Limitz, Kiss the Rim Keyon, Street Ball Team Warriors of the Concrete, Pack2Sour, Jeffro Dollaa, & Squalle. DJ Lake was host and over music. Community members were ecstatic and shocked to see such a positive event.. Full of media personalities, performances, and talented Athletes under one roof for a specific cause. A passionate speech on various forms of violence was shared by terplyfe Savannah Greene. Ms. Gloria member of the VFW gave a speech which can be viewed on IG @fantasyrefuge. Photos: Bridget David/LenzCapd
Tell me a story. Some tales need words—others need music and dance. Some require pictures still or moving. Almost all could use a sacred fire—some around which old griots gather a village, others to evoke aroma and taste. Of the latter there are stories for mornings, noons, and evenings, stories set as steaming tables of breakfast, lunch, or dinner, prefaced or prequeled by summer porches hot and humid or streaming with passing storm. These stories contain plastic and ceramic bowls and paper bags stuffed with bright yellow corn shucked, green beans or purplish peas snapped or shelled…collards, cabbages, or turnips stripped and stemmed. You may see potatoes—white or sweet—peeled and piled soaking in aluminum tubs…muscadines or scuppernongs, too. Rutabagas. Peppers.
piling the entrails on old newspapers to dispose. Tell how they pare the pork and partition the poultry. Then season it all. Salt, pepper and spice it. Flour and meal it where the plot requires. Bake, broil, boil, or fry it. Sometimes the older neighborhood kids raided my father’s plum trees, those he transplanted as seedlings from my mother’s mother—my Grand Grand’s--grove. Sometimes they looted troves from other yards— apples and pears, berries. Peaches. With what the aging matriarchs successfully warded and salvaged from these rascal brigands, they composed jellies and preserves, pies and pastries. Cakes and custards. My dad eventually chopped down his own plum trees. He preferred peace to the constant vigilance they required. But not before he established a Friday evening tradition of “cleaning” fish in the shade of the biggest and most bountiful. Later, he moved the
Don’t stop there, though. Tell me stories with bright, sharp knives for carving flesh—blades to scale, skin, and slit fresh fish, HIGHLIGHT
preparation beneath an old pine where the tire swing hang—the swing I often rode back and forth, up and down, pretending I captained a vessel along the steep billows of a tropical sea. I might have been a Caribbean pirate—like those the winds once dragged into Georgia ports—many of them, like the fleets of Blackbeard or Bartholomew Roberts, largely staffed with African crews, black men fueling their passion for pillaging and plundering with plantains and yams they first knew in nations along the West African shores. I might have pretended to drink as they did from tankards of rum distilled from the sugar cane captive Africans were compelled to sow and reap—the same sugar cane that generations of deep Southern, emancipated African Americans would grow and mill along with poor whites to produce the variety of rich, slow, black molasses and syrup in which I remember “sopping” the light biscuits my mom made from scratch whenever she fried the Mediterranean “mullet,” or Alaskan salmon croquettes to deep golden brown. Often, she deep fried local bream and catfish, too. Or bass. And there was mustard to spice the syrup. And hushpuppies—a Black Southern original inspired by or derived from the Mexican migrant tamales-and salads as sides. Such stories I can imbibe with the deep and pleasant ache of longing. Tell me yours and, in exchange, I’ll continue sharing mine. But such stories as these we ultimately have to actually see and smell and feel and taste. For that, we may need that fire I mentioned earlier. But a good stove will do. Memories, like history, are writ in blood, kindled like heat in the pulsing loam of the heart. I remember my Grand Grand stuffing oak and sweetgum logs into an old wood stove that belched smoke up through an aluminum chimney out the roof of a small, country home. She’d lift the metal eyes with an iron rod, plunge blocks of wood into flames that leaped licking to singe the bark before it settled. I wanted to stand close. But she told me to stand back.
This was dangerous. Only a small child, I was not initiated to kindle and harness the flames that both fed and warmed the home. The heat lived. The heat was life. I understand that now. It coaxed and quickened leaves and fruit and roots and flesh to food—feasts…crackling, crusting, dripping pans, pots, and plates of living lore. I remember my own mother always cooking over an electric stove. The spiraling eyes glowing orange red with voltage. Just like Grand Grand, no matter how hard she worked or how long—no matter how tired-Mama almost always cooked. And she’d sing as she chopped, sliced…rolled and kneaded…stirred. She sang songs from her youth that were songs from generations of youths long gone. Spirituals some were. Black gospel. Soundtracks to the meals she composed by memory—by feeling, she called it. A subliminal sense that transcended recipe—to treasure the palates and trove the soul. After all, to the degree that it is divine, humanity is a soul. That’s what the Christian heritage maintains. Theologians would confuse and confound it to mean that people have or possess a soul. But that’s not what the story says in Genesis. It says God breathed life into human beings and the human became a soul. When Africans became Christians--when the many nations and villages were dragged across the deep to claim their place in the motley, rhetorically human body of God--they performed the ancient identity in original ways unmistakably linked to lost lands and people that would become Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Senegal, Gambia, etc in the “long ago and far away” of their absence. And those original ways involved traditions of food they performed according to the uniqueness of places throughout the new world--from islands to port towns to plantations, of course, and the myriad communities throughout the United States to which these sites of struggle dissolved. With time, Black Southerners called the shared performances “soul.” And the food it characterized was “soul food.” As such, it honors the life to which the human sculpted of topsoil might aspire and--by inspiration--be transformed. For when the United States armies conquered the region, they brought with them an apocalypse that soldered the
fates or fortunes of wealthy and impoverished, white and black, free and emancipated Southerners. And food that had been particularly or exclusively “Black” became the common fare of those struggling to survive the aftermath. Southern African American cooks refused to label the origins of this sustenance “Colored” or “Negro.” Even so, in calling it “soul,” they spoke to the deeper essence of what being “Colored” or “Negro” meant. It was the performance of a common humanity celebrated and indulged even if vigorously and, sometimes, violently and tragically contested. But that’s me critiquing the story—only one part at that. The story—yours and mine—is itself a plethora of practices. Seasonings. Flavors. You know some that I don’t, I’d wager. Not all are conventionally or traditionally labeled “soul,” though almost all are American in a uniquely Afro-Southern way that is, in its character, just that.
what their musicians did to music, adding depths and dimensions of character to the experience, seeding and cultivating a culture that was a far cry from those of other American regions. Black Southern migrants carried it with them to colonize those regions and their cities, though. And in these outposts, what would later be called “Soul” food would first reference a nostalgia for a Southern homeland that, perhaps, both always and never was with the designation “Down Home.” And where the Romance of pirates or Creole Vodun fails to flavor the imagination, the Maroons— escaped slaves in the Caribbean islands who formed rebel communities in the hills and forests to wage unrelenting war on plantations and their ways of living--added the sharply spiced jerk seasoning to their cooking. Taste that story, as hot as you can stand it. The style that has grown popular throughout the States. Jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk goat…they have their part in the tale to be told. One can taste the urgency of their plight—the contest and triumph of their unbroken commitment to will and weal by the spicing.
But let’s not stop there. Let’s listen. Let’s hear from the food, too. Let’s not be ashamed to let the watermelon tell its story. Long caricatured though esteem for the fruit has been among African Americans, shame in one’s cultural heritage is, itself, acquiescence Tell me about the Geechee and Gullah. At one time, to oppression. And free people know no African Americans consumed more fish or seafood shame. The original watermelons were than any of their countrymen—more than Catholic sub-Saharan African. Ancestors or Jewish immigrants, even. Shrimp and grits was of Black Americans would popular among centuries of Black folk descended have enjoyed them for directly from escaped Africans along the Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts long before it lost its ethnic centuries before identity to the broader regional character of the South. the much sweeter, modified Tell me about the Creoles of Louisiana. For, like varieties shrimp and grits, a similar fate characterized gumbo—a term derived from a West African word for would stigmatize “okra”—popularly (though not exclusively) known for their descendants in denoting a seafood stew or soup that featured okra as a the United States. So, let key ingredient. We know that, in time, there developed the watermelon speak for itself from the still or breezy fine chicken and sausage varieties, too. And both were shade of a hot summer afternoon. Let its cold, juicy meat articulate that place where summer break kids largely a concoction of the French speaking Creole— and their retired elders gather for succulent slices. originally a Portuguese term for Africans born in the New World—in the “once upon a time” of a New Orleans area three hundred years gone. In either case, And let’s not silence “chittlins” either. BrotherMinister Malcolm X was absolutely correct about a Black cooks did to European and American cuisine number of crucial matters, but not entirely about the HIGHLIGHT
origins of chitterlings as a popular dish among many African Americans. So, let’s allow them to talk in a big pot roiling in a steamy winter kitchen. Let them talk even if you, like me, have long been hard of hearing them both for their stigma and the fact of what they actually are. I’ve been told that with enough hot sauce and pepper they are rich with narrative. And I bet if you listen closely you’ll hear the fact that the medieval English and French were fond of deer guts—it was an aristocratic special, in fact—in addition to the entrails of cows and pigs before circumstances encouraged many Black Americans to develop a taste for the latter. While we’re at it, we might as well hear from the black-eyed peas, too. They originated around the Lake Chad region in medieval Africa before spreading to other parts of the world. Imagine that—Lake Chad, the region where the kingdoms of Kanem and Bornu are more noted for armored, lance wielding knights than the chain mailed, Sub-Saharan cavalries of the massive, almost absurdly wealthy, literate empires that preceded them.
prepares a fine feast for the soul on holidays. In learning and loving to cook, I’ve tried to acquire her ways about the kitchen. Some I’ve managed. Others—like her almost preternatural gift for biscuits—still eludes me. “You’ve just got to know,” she says. “You’ve got to feel it. No recipes required.” That sounds something like the Tao, right? I’m sure you understand. Something like Dharma. And that’s fine because each is highly similar, if not derived from, old African philosophical and spiritual ontologies and epistemologies from which I strongly suspect Black Americans get notions best described by terms like “cool.” It’s that most profound plane of cosmic being. It’s “soul.” And you can serve that up with a side of fine corn bread that nobody makes like Mama, right? Mine or yours—baked or hotcake. There’s nothing deeper, maybe than “soul.” Nothing more universal in its experience of “God” that the Apostle Paul described as being “over all and through all and in all.” To that point, Mama even used to “fix” hot, steaming hotcakes for my rambunctious, get-loose-and-tear-up-the-neighborhood black lab/ beagle mongrel. And, honestly, Mama couldn’t stand that dog.
So many stories, right? Stories of knights and pirates, sorcerers, maroons, slaves, sharecroppers, rebels and renegades. Let’s indulge the experiences they passed on in the food they shared for the sometimes deeply ironic, complicated life they loved. You might furnish such tales with coffee brewed from the berries first loved by ancient East Africans or the herbal or medicinal teas steeped from the leaves esteemed throughout the continent. I suppose, at the end of the day, I’ll invite you to share the simpler, less Romantic but no less poignantly visceral joy that remains of the extraordinary people not only my Grand Grand but my Grandma Susie were when my mother, Nina, HIGHLIGHT 29
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