November Newsletter

Volume 3.2
November 17, 2020

This November message is about the renewal of hope in hard times.  I was raised to be tenacious about holding hope in my heart and to actually be faithful in knowing that hope is present, even when it isn’t so much in evidence.  I was raised to look for truth and light whenever I might face a challenge—whether large or small—and to be ready with candles in hand to bring light, if I can, or to help others to do so.  I was raised, not simply to just stand around being afraid of darkness, but to act for justice and righteousness regardless of the dark.  The questions that I was encouraged to ask myself were basic:  Whose story is this?  What is really going on here?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  What’s the best thing that can happen?  What can we do in the meantime?  What is the next step?  Who is in a position to take it? With whom can we join hands for the work that matters? What, ultimately, is the goal, the prize, the thing(s) that can make a difference?  Who benefits?  Who doesn’t?  How do we mediate the space between the two?  I learned to reflect on such questions and to commit to ways of seeing, being, and doing with honor and with respect.  Chief among these values, principles, and practices is a two-fold vow:  1) to be confident, given the things that I choose to do, that I am acting based on my own ethical compass, and 2) to be accountable to myself (and others) in determining that in whatever I do, I do my very best—not sometimes, but ALL the time.  What I know is that I am not alone in holding such beliefs and commitments.
In 2020, though, such efforts to live a well-deliberated and meaningful life have been pushed to the very edge of sanity.  We find ourselves surrounded by devastating disease, an economic system that is falling apart, growing numbers of people in jeopardy and in pain, an environment that is both physically and spiritually toxic, a lack of high quality and ethical leadership, and a world of politics that is deeply fraught with danger.  The challenges are just unbelievable, BUT I return to basic touchstones.  There is indeed hope.  It lies in us.  While there are no magic wands to just make things better, IF we are willing, we can act for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, our world.  We can continue to do the hard work of bringing balance, fomenting peace, and crafting a prosperity that is sustainable—for both ourselves and others who are like and un-like ourselves.  This message, again, is about the renewal of hope.  We got this! 
As we enter yet another season in our nation of official thanksgiving, what I am most thankful for is knowing that I am not alone.  There are others who hope, as I do, for peace, justice, and prosperity—for all, not just for some.  Millions upon millions of our fellow citizens, the largest number ever, have declared their hope, faith, and expectations for the values that form the bedrock of our nation—truth, justice, equality, and, yes, the right to vote and to have those votes counted.  I am thankful.  With this Thanksgiving Day, however, all of us should be more than thankful.  We are obligated to find ways to live up to these values and to do the very hard work—as a nation grounded in its diversity—of bringing these values to life.  We must truly imagine in multi-dimensional ways and in the fullness of living color what a nation like ours needs to look like and be like—where difference not just sameness matters, where people and the grace of human regard not just power and privilege matter.  We need to figure out in dynamic terms how we live our values:  freedom, justice, equality—for all.  We need to figure out how we will be vigilant in making it so and keeping it that way. 
Despite the darkness at this moment that still surrounds us, I am hopeful that we will get farther along than we have ever gone in making our nation better, more perfect—in actually bringing to life the land of our imagination, our hopes, our dreams.  The good news is that, I know/we know—for sure—that we are not alone and can join hands with others to get to work.
Ever onward,

Jackie Royster
CEO, Communities Who Know, Inc. ™
Pictured above: Westside Communities Alliance Fifth Anniversary Symposium on April 23, 2016. 
Photo: courtesy of Joanna Gabriel.
You have until December 7, 2020 to register to vote in the January 2021 Senate runoff election. 
If you are already registered to vote, you can request an official absentee ballot by clicking here: https://ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov/.

Advanced in-person voting will begin December 14, 2020. We will provide updated links about early in-person voting in the December newsletter. In the meantime, you can click here to find out about early voting options for your county. You can also click the button below for information about your voter status.
My GA Voter Page
The ​purpose of the CWK West Atlanta Asset​s Map is to highlight community-focused organizations​ of various kinds related to: business and entrepreneurship, the arts, religion, health and wellness, special services, etc., as well as to highlight ​some of the community leaders historically ​who have helped to build and develop these assets. This initiative has two primary goals: 1) to highlight the longstanding landscape of resources available in westside neighborhoods; and 2) to create annually a more fully rendered Community Assets Showcase to acknowledge and celebrate the community’s historic strengths. The imperative for both goals is to collaborate with community partners to capture in dynamic ways the spirit and vibrancy of communities who care and are committed to survival, sustainability, and prosperity.

𝐈𝐍𝐕𝐈𝐓𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐓𝐈𝐂𝐈𝐏𝐀𝐓𝐄: We invite community organizations to collaborate with us in creating or enhancing short but informative profiles of their organizations using our visual template. From this base, annually, we hope also that partners will work with us to create exemplary showcases that convey more in depth information. Click here to see the inaugural showcase (
https://bit.ly/HWP-map) that we have prepared in collaboration with the Conservancy at Historic Washington Park. ​We are pleased to celebrate Washington Park’s incredibly distinctive milestone. In 2019, the Conservancy celebrated the park’s 100th anniversary.

With mapping as the ultimate goal, once a profile is completed we will upload information to the 𝐖𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐀𝐭𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚 𝐀𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐌𝐚𝐩 portal of the 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰, 𝐈𝐧𝐜. 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐚 𝐃𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐚𝐫𝐝. If your organization is interested in this collaboration, please click the button below to participate in our survey.
West Atlanta Assets Map – Survey
The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) is now accepting applications for up to $70,000 in rehabilitation incentives for owner-occupied exterior home repairs. This program is for homes in Ashview Heights or AUC only. To apply or ask for more information, contact the Choice Neighborhoods Exterior Program Manager, Meals on Wheels Atlanta at info@mowatl.org or 404-351-3889.

AHA also has updated information about their Downpayment Assistance Program for First-time homebuyers on their website.

Special thanks to the MLK Ashby Merchants Association for forwarding this announcement to us!
The EANA’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 18th has been rescheduled to next Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 12:00pm.

Please register in advance for this meeting by clicking here:

**If you had already registered for the original meeting you do not need to do anything further you will be automatically registered for the rescheduled date.**
Pre-order your vegetables and herbs from Truly Living Well for healthy meals during the holidays and throughout the pandemic. All CSA’s and Produce Boxes will be pre-packaged in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

You can shop online for CSA subscriptions, weekly produce boxes, and local goods. Orders placed by 6:00pm on Wednesday will be ready for pickup on Friday or Saturday. Click here to order now!

If you have announcements that you would like to share, please note two important points:
  • The old email account for Westside Communities Alliance has been closed.  Please direct messages and send flyers and announcements to:  communitieswhoknow2020@gmail.com
  •  Currently, the CWK Newsletter will be posted monthly – in the first half of the month. Please submit your flyers and other relevant information to the email address above – as close to the beginning of the month as possible. Thank you!
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