2013 saw a lot of events happen in the community space. Here's an incomplete review with a few words from some of our keyholders
Philadelphia Coalition Of the Heart / Hip Hop Party For The People
"Just looking at this year 2013, the Spot has continued to serve the youth... via hosting Popular youth groups such as the Dollar Boyz, Young Legends of the Peace Park, Dance Champions among others..and served as the headquarters for the annual Philly Stand Up Youth Walk that took place aug 2013...The Hip-Hop Party for the people (HHPP), brought former child solider and revolutionary journalist Brother Chernoh Bah, chairman of the African Socialist Movement of Sierra Leone there for his speaking tour, hosted a Wednesday night study group...the North Philly Radio Collaborative, a grassroots coalition of community activists and revolutionary journalists NPRC) held a fundraiser for the building of an low powered community FM radio station... also we threw a number of jam sessions involving live instruments and building sessions about various grassroots community work. ...and many more events and happenings that I can not recall at the quick moment."
"The purpose/mission of the group is to provide a forum for philadelphia residents to obtain a career in health informatics. Its geared toward any individual seeking to grow both personally and professionally in the path of health information technology. More or less insight into how I've grown professionally in this space and what's required for the each individual to grow towards the health information field. I do what I do because I believe in giving back to the community and I believe in helping people out that resemble my walk in life. "
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac (OYC) means, in one of the Mexican language, called Nahuatl: “The School of the blood Moving in the Heart”
The mission of OLLIN YOLIZTLI CALMECAC is to investigate, understand and raise awareness of the MEXICAYOTL culture, which flourished in Mexico prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1492.
OYC uses the space to practice and to teach music (and some festivals too) to kids as far as people from Camden NJ come to the space to learn. And we have had guests from Mexico, TX and Milwaukee, that have come over to share some of the native Mexican traditions
" For the past ten years I have been helping to keep youth safely off of the streets and out of trouble, by offering outlets to express themselves through the various forms of the entertainment arts. This includes mentoring, after school programming, weekend parties and much more. I use entertainment to gain their interest, with the ultimate goal is to help them utilize their many talents into an entrepreneurship endeavor.
We have been utilizing the community space to host our after school dance programming and parties, in effort to cater to our member on or around the North Philadelphia section of the city."
"Decarcerate PA is a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. We demand that PA stop building prisons, reduce the prison population, and reinvest money in our communities. We are currently fighting against the $400 million new prisons the state is building right outside of Philadelphia. Instead of new prisons, we are fighting for policy changes that keep people from going to prison and bring currently incarcerated people home. Instead of investing in cages, we want resources to go towards quality public education, stable housing, jobs and job training programs, health care and food access, drug and alcohol treatment programs, community-based reentry services, and non-punitive programs that address the root causes of violence in our communities.
Decarcerate PA has used Gilberts Shoes primarily as a work space where we can make props and banners for our actions and protests. Most recently we used Gilberts Shoes to make a giant mock electrical plug, which we delivered to the Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, and demanded that he “pull the plug” on prison expansion in Pennsylvania. "
Philly Jail Support Collective / Food Not Bombs / Up Against The Wall Legal Collective / Etc
"I've been opening the space for meetings, events and fundraising for the Philly Jail Support Collective and North Philly Food Not Bombs. Currently I offer, when appropriate, hosting for various cop watch meetings, legal trainings and any needs toward community organizing ....when prompted or offered... as needed."
The Shoe Store has opened its walls up to local graffiti artists to paint. As a result there is an ever changing colorful constellation
"The walls are always changing as different artists visit, to paint or take photos. Most of us 'do what we do' (at the shoe store), because we enjoy painting, and making, and being creative. We love how welcoming the people in the neighborhood are, and it feels good to always get such positive feedback from passers-by. Finally, its nice to have walls where you can paint without guidelines, have your work be seen by the public, while remaining comfortable and enjoying conversations."
That's certainly not everything that happened over the past year but we hope that it's enough to get an idea about what's going on down here!