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Exploring the Power of Art: Reinvesting in Communities

This past week I had the pleasure to attend a collective giving event and meet and talk with women from around the country in the philanthropic giving space. One organization that stood out to me was an organization of young black women giving back to the community.

Collective giving is perceived to be a new way to give, however, black and brown communities around the world have been practicing collective giving for generations. The transformative impact of collective giving brings people together to pool their resources, including their time, their talent, their treasure, their testimony, and their tithes.

This new idea of bringing historically underrepresented voices into philanthropy and challenging preconceived notions of who and what is a philanthropist is not a new idea to black and brown communities.

It is no secret to black and brown communities of this idea because our mothers and grandmothers practiced philanthropy every day. It was practiced in the rent parties they held to help people pay rent when they were short on cash, or in the walks my grandmother would take around her country mile block, with bags filled with clothes, and food, like eggs, bacon, and chicken to help feed the families in the neighborhood. Or of my dad, gathering coats for winter and buying kids' books to read and even occasionally helping to pay for college admission exams for students who would not have had a chance to attend college otherwise.

As I listened to this young black philanthropist, I thought about how neighborhoods today can benefit from this new collective giving space to help restore these neighborhoods to sacred spaces of community.

With so much gentrification going on in black and brown neighborhoods, philanthropists investing in neighborhoods, and a focus on the arts in these neighborhoods can help save communities. Neighborhoods are sacred and oftentimes generations of black and brown people have lived in a neighborhood or community for nearly three or more generations.

In the neighborhood where I grew up in Detroit, some of the people I grew up with, their parents, and even their children are still living in those communities that are imbued with history and culture.

When we invest in neighborhoods, we are investing in people. If we think about gentrification in the same way we have come to understand colonialism, we can begin to understand the devastating impact of displacement on people and the long-term trauma it causes from losing one's base connection with their history and culture.

As an artist (Life Behind My Lens) in the makeup (beauty) and fashion photography world, I capture the beauty of the human condition and know how important art and beauty are in uplifting the human spirit. The work of black and brown artists is critical to the building up of community.

Black, brown, and white philanthropists through their investment in "art in the community" projects can help rebuild the infrastructure of these communities and can help prevent the gentrification or modern-day colonialism that real estate developers are pushing on and pushing out in these culturally connected environments.

When we begin to recognize that modern-day colonialism is a source of trauma, we can begin to collectively give to help save communities rather than raze communities.

Philanthropic investment in the arts in community programming is a step towards the redevelopment of these neighborhoods. Black and Brown communities can continue to honor their ancestors and their heritage through this collective giving of philanthropists like each of you.



I recently did a training on attention bias. What is attention bias? Attention bias is our tendency to prioritize certain types of stimuli/information over others. At any given moment, an individual's senses can perceive countless stimuli in our immediate surroundings. Threat-related attention bias refers to the tendency to prioritize the processing of threats over benign or neutral stimuli. Is it no wonder we have biases related to race, ethnicity, disability, and more?

Each of us individually generates more information than ever before in human history. We take in almost 90,000 pieces of information daily, yet our brains can only filter in about 10 percent of that information. The rest, well is stored in our subconscious minds and often when we perceive a threat we act upon it.

How do you perceive the world around you and how can you understand your attention bias?


The WEBB Advisory Group Presents

The WEBB Center For Social Impact was developed and designed from more than 50 years of lived experience as a Black Woman in America.

Focusing on domestic policy specifically, our institute provides a global worldview perspective for black and brown women from the diaspora living in America today.  

Using research data, lived experiences, and stories of impact, policymakers and leaders can understand the social impacts various policies have on black and brown children and women, today and tomorrow.  

In response to various incidents in our country's recent history, history mustn't repeat itself.  Therefore, the WEBB Center For Social Impact strives to provide voter information, information on issues for policymakers, information for community activists, and information for anyone who seeks to understand the social impacts of public policy on individuals and communities.


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Prayer for the Week

Dear God,

Paying attention to the world around us is all about listening, seeing, embracing, understanding, loving, and being accessible to life and the lives of others. What we pay attention to God is what we become in this world. It creates the anticipated future that we desire for ourselves and our world. Help us this week to be attentive to the people and neighbors who make up our beloved community. Amen.

"Inspiring Humans...Changing Communities."

"And So It Goes..." is a weekly blog post. We welcome the voices of all people. Are you interested in writing for us? Let us know.

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