Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ujaama and Nia

On December 29, we honored Ujaama by discussing the importance of supporting black owned businesses, especially after the news of the brother from NYC who died on Black Friday at the Long Island Wal-Mart. At the Institute we have two members who are sole practitioners. The blogger of Doology is also the owner of LLWE Business Services Plus, and the audience learned a great deal about what is on a W-2 and the complexities of the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit).

On December 30 (Nia), Brother Chris Powell gave a presentation on important black educators such as John Hope Franklin, Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Ralph Bunche. Brother Zeb Coleman talked about his primary role at the Institute, which is to sell the Black Koptic Press Release, our official print publication which is managed by Minister Evans.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kujichagulia and Ujima

At the Kujichagulia observance at Brother and Sister Simms' home on the evening of Dec. 27, the young people in the Charles Riley Tutorial Program recited the 'Parable of the Eagle.' Brother Simms showed the audience his autographed copy of Dr. Karenga's book. Dr. Karenga spoke at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003 and Brother Simms recalled his conversation with Dr. Karenga. Brother Simms gave homage to Minister Evans and Minister Dailey from the Outreach Community Center. Ministers Lawrance and Akilah Evans spoke about the importance of Kujichagulia also.

On December 28, both ministers told folktales pertaining to Ujima. Ujima, according to Minister Lawrance Evans, involves doing the right thing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


On December 26, First Community Interfaith Institute Inc. transitioned from First Fruits to Dr. Karenga's 7 day Kwanzaa celebration. Fifteen year old Jazzmin Kamau, Minister Evans' protegee, opened the ceremony by discussing what Umoja means and had her four students from the sophomore class, ranging in age from 4 to 9, name the flags from some of the African countries. Brother Brian Griffin gave a presentation on Sojourner Truth, and Brother Clinton Moore read as well. Minister Evans continued his lesson on the etymology of the concepts of "crab in the barrel" and "hipster/hippie," which all came from Africa.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

African Mothers Day at School #33 was a success!

On Monday evening (December 15), the halfway point of our First Fruits season,  First Community Interfaith Institute hosted a wonderful African Mother's Day celebration at School #33, hosted by long time Institute supporter and friend Ester Gliwinski. Two of Rochester's greatest nationalists, Dr. David Anderson (Sankofa) and Dr. John Walker gave us African folktales. The Institute's Cultural Renaissance Singers and the Watoto-Lumumba Dancers performed. Sister Renee Vick (pictured above with husband Joseph) was the subject of a special tribute for her work with prisoners and her overall community work. The program concluded with the men in the audience presenting all the women with a red carnation.

Monday, December 8, 2008

First Community Interfaith Institute performs libation at the University of Rochester

On Friday, December 5, First Community Interfaith Institute Inc. went on a field trip to the University of Rochester for the Black Student Union annual Kwanzaa celebration, whose theme was "Embracing Love, Fellowship and Family." Minister Evans, along with some of the adult members/supporters and children in the tutorial program, performed a libation honoring some of our heroes and sheroes who have joined the ancestors.Minister Evans gave a brief lecture as well. There were also some excellent UR student performers as well, such as Sister Ashley Anderson, who performed a solo dance number. Everyone enjoyed themselves and people in the audience were particularly impressed with the children, who drummed during the libation.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First Fruits began on Dec. 1!

On December 1, First Community Interfaith Institute Inc. kicked off its 32 day First Fruits/Kwanzaa season with the Kwanzaa Appreciation Program. In the month of November (Constructive Action Month), the members and students were encouraged to just purchase essential (must-have) items. On December 1, we donated a portion of the money we saved by avoiding non-essential items/services to the Institute. Minister Evans and the adults did libation where we honored heroes and sheroes from the diaspora. The children blew the candles.