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Life and Religion

A new cru all about change in the black community
Initiative's goal is teaching folks to become advocates for action
 
Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:00 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

 

PHOTO/NATRICE BULLARD
Brandi Williams, founder of juice crü, is on a mission to create change in the black community.

We all know about the issues plaguing the black community – high crime rates, poverty, unemployment, single-parent households, lack of education, drug abuse and addiction to name a few.

It’s issues like these that have one Charlotte woman fired up and mad as hell.

“It’s time for change,” said Brandi Williams. “We’ve talked the situation to death. It’s time for action.”

Williams is spearheading a movement called the juice crü, a social-justice training program founded on the principle that everyone has the power to create change. Williams said the mission of the newly formed, lifestyle-based program is to build bridges between those educated in traditional institutions and those educated by the “School of Hard Knocks.”

Juice crü’s leadership training program emphasizes advocacy and is structured to address two key issues: policy change and personal responsibility.

Williams said her first goal is to teach people how to advocate for their rights and stand up against social injustice. This means teaching parents how to advocate for their children’s education and engaging voters to be informed and exercise their rights at the polls.

She said the second component, personal responsibility, is all about the things that can be done on a daily basis to create change in the lives of others. That encompasses everything from improving parenting skills to exercising good financial habits and investing back in to the community.

“We want to teach people what they don’t know to help them better understand the world and what’s happening around them,” she said. “We want to change their mindset and give them a sense of hope and of pride.”

Williams hopes to combat what she refers to as the “drunk and dependent” culture that she believes is prevalent in the black community.

“We talk about issues, but we don’t do anything about them because we are somewhere ‘turning up’ and getting excited,” she said.

Williams finds it upsetting that such a large number of people in her community are content with being dependent on the government for assistance instead of making the changes that are necessary to improve their situations. In doing so, she said they give their power away and allow others to control them.

“We have to change that and realize that we have work to do,” said Williams. “Doing that work and holding others accountable is the only way we will improve our quality of life and achieve human and civil rights for all.”

Williams said the name juice crü was inspired by the movie “Juice.”

“At the end of the movie the guy asks Omar Epps ‘Who has the juice now?” she said. “It resonated with me that we all have this power, and if we would all own the fact that we have that and do what we could in every little interaction throughout our day to create change, this would be a different place to live.”

She said today’s generation of young black Americans gets a bad rep for not doing anything to create change or a better tomorrow for future generations.

“In some ways that’s true, but I also feel like there hasn’t been any training,” she said. “We were given a world where things started to open up for us so we really didn’t see or… experience racism in the way that our parents experienced it. And the kids behind us, they are like a melting pot. Everybody is the same, so I don’t think they really understand that there’s still some social injustice happening. We need to really move on it.”

Williams plans to launch a pilot program in Charlotte’s Grier Heights community to serve as national model of how a grass roots, social-justice training initiative such as juice crü can have an impact.

Her immediate goal is to have satellite groups in key election states trained by the end of September and activated in time for mid-term elections.

Online workshops and training are slated to begin in August. Williams plans for juice crü to be in at least five states within the next six months.

Follow the movement on Twitter @ugotjuice or visit www.juicecru.com to learn more, download memes to spread the word or register for classes.

Comments

Brandi, I like what you are doing. I may be able to contribute to your project. call 551-574-0181 or on the web at www.docsolox.net KCAP
Posted on July 22, 2014
 
Great article about something new.
Posted on July 19, 2014
 

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