In the fall of 2019, Val Bisharat and Brian Lemoine from Clif Bar & Company, visited St. Louis to tour the Black Power Blueprint projects which they learned about through their long-term support of the work of Uhuru Foods & Pies in Oakland.
APEDF President Ona Zené Yeshitela (left) and Maureen Wagener of Uhuru Foods (right) greet Val and Brian from Clif Bar (center) as they arrive at Akwaaba Hall.
Audience of architects, contractors, skilled tradespeople and community members welcoming them to St. Louis and the Black Power Blueprint!
Plans were in place for Clif Bar's foundation, "In Good Company" to spend a week in St. Louis, housing and coordinating 20 volunteers to build out the stage and garden boxes in the back yard of the future Uhuru Jiko Community Kitchen and Café.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that project has been postponed.
In June, Clif Bar posted a statement on their social media pages announcing they would be making a contribution to forward the work of the Black Power Blueprint.
We appreciate and thank Clif Bar for this important support for African self-determination!
From Ona Zené Yeshitela, President, African People's Education and Defense Fund (APEDF)
The African People’s Education and Defense Fund and our many institutions throughout the U.S. have taken a public stand to defend the human and civil rights of the black community for over 26 years!
Today we stand with the African community and George Floyd’s family to demand
We call for an end to the police murder and abuse of African people!
The APEDF mission is to defend the human and civil rights of the African community and end the disparities faced by African people in health, healthcare, education and economic development.
The public murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis has sparked an international outcry from the black community and others who urgently call for genuine change to the blatant inequalities experienced by the African community.
The work of APEDF addresses the human rights abuses our people face every day with rampant poverty and unemployment, lack of access to quality health care and education, and enduring harsh policies of police containment and mass imprisonment that affect every African family.
APEDF understands that these conditions are never going to be addressed or transformed by the system that has forced us to produce wealth for everyone but ourselves for hundreds of years.
APEDF does much more than expose the problem! We create solutions by rebuilding and uplifting our starved and neglected communities. We know that the only way forward is for African people to have self-determination and self-reliance. We must control everything that goes on in our comm
We have built over 50 institutions and programs led by African people to feed, clothe and house ourselves! APEDF is creating our own independent economic and cultural life. We are bringing our community together so we can have real development and political and economic power in our own hands!
Support the African People’s Education and Defense Fund and all our programs and defend the right of African people to self-determination!
From Ona Zené Yeshitela, President, Black Power Blueprint
During this time when we are all facing grave health and economic threats from the coronavirus epidemic, we want you to know that the Black Power Blueprint and the Uhuru Movement are here for you.
As always the well-being of our community is first and foremost and we hope all of you are taking care of yourselves and your family as best as possible.
We will never stop upholding our commitment to organize to win political and economic power in the hands of the African working class.
Read the full message »
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is providing guidance about prevention and being prepared for COVID-19.
Get all the latest updates by liking and following the AAPDEP Facebook Page and by visiting DevelopmentForAfrica.org.
On Saturday, June 20, Black Power Blueprint Economic Development Director Ticharwa Masimba and garden coordinator Gary Brooks led a powerful volunteer day in the outdoor venue and garden.
Watch Ticharwa's overview that opened up the volunteer day »
Read the full update from the June 20th Volunteer Work Day, with more photos »
Catch up on all the project updates »
See the full story of the Black Power Blueprint, political and economic power in the hands of the African working class in St. Louis, when you scroll down. Donate and sign up to volunteer today!
North St. Louis community members answer the question, "What does the Black Power Blueprint mean to you?"
View more testimonials »
BLACK POWER BLUEPRINT PROJECTS
One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace, Outdoor Event Space and Gary Brooks Community Garden - In Progress
4031-35 W. Florissant Avenue (across the street from the Uhuru House)
voucher list at Vouchersort UK
Black Power Blueprint purchased and demolished two
city-owned condemned buildings, then secured architectural and
landscape plans to create a beautiful multi-purpose outdoor event space
with native plants and trees. A mural depicting the historic kindness
and generosity of the African community collectively taking care of
ourselves will be commissioned.
The One Africa! One Nation!
Marketplace will foster community commerce and economic opportunities.
The Gary Brooks Community Garden is collaborating with other black
growers to provide fresh vegetables and to hold gardening and cooking
Investment needed to complete: $45,000
Uhuru House Community Center - COMPLETED!
4101 W. Florissant Avenue
How to add google maps to your website tutorialPowered by flickr embed.
How to add google maps to your website tutorial
Black Power Blueprint transformed the
once-condemned building into a state-of-the-art three-story community
event and program space in ten short months!
outpouring of support from donors and volunteers, the community can now
come together at the Uhuru House and Akwaaba Hall to solve problems,
organize programs, showcase talent and have family celebrations—building
culture, prosperity and political power.
Community Basketball Court
4368 College Avenue (at W. Florissant Avenue, four blocks from the Uhuru House)
We will create our own outdoor basketball court on newly purchased and cleared land where we demolished another abandoned city-owned building just blocks from the Uhuru House.
Only one in four St. Louis parks have a basketball court. In fact, the city of St. Louis removed courts in four parks in predominantly white communities, reinforcing the city’s racial divide.
Building the court will allow for spirited youth programs, adult pickup games and leagues, tournaments and more. This is another APEDF project that improves the well-being of our community and helps close the gap in overall health and life expectancy, including diabetes, obesity and hypertension rates that disproportionately affect African people.
Investment needed to complete: $75,000
Uhuru Jiko Community Commercial Kitchen, Bakery Café and African Independence Workforce Program
3723 Goodfellow Boulevard (at Natural Bridge Road)
Located in an art deco building that had once been
a boat dealership, the Uhuru Jiko is our most ambitious project yet, to
bring African economic and cultural life to this depressed commercial
area, stop gentrification and to build a critical program for our
Black Power Blueprint will build a bakery,
café and community commercial kitchen to serve as the headquarters for
Uhuru Foods & Pies, one of the many economic institutions of Black
Star Industries and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund
around the U.S.
The large plot of land behind the
building will be transformed into another outdoor venue for events and
culture, with seating and an herb garden to supply the café and to sell.
Power Blueprint is working on development and funding to make Uhuru
Jiko the home of the African Independence Workforce Program, providing
food business skills, work experience, housing and services for
previously incarcerated men and women from our community.
Investment needed to complete purchase, kitchen, café and outdoor venue: $585,000
African Independence Workforce Program Housing
4358 College Avenue
We are renovating a 4-plex apartment building, earmarked for housing for the African Independence Workforce Program, creating jobs for those re-entering our community from the prison system.
Investment need to complete: $30,000
Future Program — Demolition Required
4007-09 W. Florissant Avenue
APEDF has acquired two more properties through the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). The buildings are condemned and will need to be demolished. Black Power Blueprint is planning for how the sites will be used to expand the programs for African community self-reliance and self-determination.
Investment needed to complete purchase and demolition: $20,000
Video: Black Power Blueprint - From Day One to Now
The Story of the Black Power Blueprint
The vision of the Black Power Blueprint is to return the majority-black North Side of St. Louis to its former economic, political and cultural vibrancy through self-sustaining economic development. The Black Power Blueprint is transforming St. Louis north of the infamous Delmar Boulevard divide, where the population is 94 percent black and 35 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. Through purchasing properties and renovating or demolishing abandoned buildings, the Black Power Blueprint is creating beautiful, usable cultural and political hubs, economic incubators and community spaces. Our model is already inspiring others to rejuvenate the neighborhood. Young families are moving in and there are increasing social, cultural and economic activities. Black Power Blueprint projects include:
Black Power Blueprint is coordinated by African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) President Ona Zené Yeshitela along with APEDF Economic Development Coordinator Ticharwa Masimba and Projects Coordinator Kitty Reilly.
How to add google maps to your website tutorialPowered by flickr embed.Systemic Injustice
Although the North Side continues to be a strong and resilient community, the conditions today are quite different than they were a hundred, or even 40, years ago.
Today the St. Louis African population is a majority in the city, with 88,000 African residents on the North Side. The North Side now has more than 7,000 vacant, crumbling buildings and thousands of empty, overgrown lots on streets dotted with potholes, far from commerce and access to schools, grocery stores and other conveniences.In St. Louis, only 33 percent of black families own their homes, versus 71 percent for white families, according to a 2017 article in the Riverfront Times. Black residents of North St. Louis face rapidly encroaching gentrification, with higher rents and property taxes, that is forcing thousands further out into the county and beyond.Sixty percent of the St. Louis African community lives at the poverty line, with 30 percent in deep poverty. The city of St Louis now has the 7th highest disparity in household income between black and white people, according to an East-West Gateway Council of Governments report from 2017. The St. Louis American newspaper states that “One-fifth of African American families have a net worth of $0 or below; 75 percent have less than $10,000 for retirement.” This is versus median white assets of $134,000. According to St. Louis County Public Health, there is an 18-year gap in life expectancy between North St. Louis zip codes and the predominantly white Clayton area, separated by less than 10 miles.We are clear that this reality is the result of an ongoing legacy of deeply ingrained systemic injustice and not the fault of our struggling people.
Bringing North St. Louis Back to Life
Located just a few miles from Ferguson, where five years ago 18-year-old Mike Brown was killed by the police, sparking a massive outcry, the Uhuru House at 4101 W. Florissant Avenue in North St. Louis stands as a beacon to our past and our future.Since its opening, the Uhuru House has hosted:
The red, black and green flag that flies across the street from the Uhuru House is an inspiring symbol that represents a future of justice, prosperity and liberation for African people in St. Louis and around the world. The Black Power Blueprint has demonstrated our commitment to the leadership, genius and future of the long-oppressed black working class and poor community.
With your support, our program is bringing the North Side back to life!
More About the Goals and Mission of the Black Power BlueprintThe
conditions faced by black people in America today demand that we seize
the future for our children. The African community in St. Louis, like
others around the country, faces poverty, joblessness, poor schools and
substandard housing.We see wealth, opportunity and prosperity on one side of town, contrasted by deep poverty and despair on the other.The
Black Power Blueprint will impact on our city through genuine social
and economic rebirth for our community. Empowering our community with
sustainable job creation and commerce, attracting and supporting black
culture and arts.Black Star Industries, partnering with the
African People’s Education and Defense Fund has created black-community
owned and operated institutions for economic development and
self-determination for over 35 years.From Oakland, CA to
Philadelphia, PA to St. Petersburg, FL and Huntsville, AL, we have
sustained community-funded commercial kitchens, a wellness center,
furniture and consignment shops, event spaces and other community based
initiatives and programs.Now we need your support to realize this visionary project in St. Louis, MO. Donate today! Follow us on facebook.com/BlackPowerBlueprint and help us spread the word!