City’s Office of Public Engagement Launches Black + Gold Series | Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement

PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement (OPE) is proud to launch a new initiative called Black + Gold Series, focused on building interracial conversations and dialogues to promote cooperation and mutual understanding. The Office of Public Engagement will host events, activities, foster conversations, and partner with community organizations and institutions to highlight efforts to bring Black and Asian communities together in Philadelphia. The Black + Gold Series will begin in February, with events throughout 2022.

“OPE’s conversations with various communities and city leaders have all underscored the fact that in our city of brotherly love and brotherly affection, there is much more work we need to do to close the gaps and create opportunities for healing. The SEPTA incident that took place on November 17, 2021, involving African American and Asian American teenagers, brought this need to light,” said Romana Lee-Akiyama, Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

February is a month that marks Black History Month and the Lunar New Year – a holiday celebrated by 2 billion people of Asian descent around the world. It’s a time of year that is deeply important to black communities and to many Asian communities, separately. OPE chose to launch the series in February to honor opportunities to come together and build bridges.

“We are thrilled to help launch this inspiring series,” said Jeanette Bavwidinsi, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Youth Engagement. “The relationship between the Asian and Black communities in our city is deep and spans generations. I’m sure the Black + Gold series will be a masterclass in human relationships, coalition building and leading the way – at a table set by members of the Asian and Black community, but open to all residents aspiring to a more perfect Philadelphia.

Upcoming events within the Black + Gold series

Philadelphia Black Rising and Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D.
February 18, 2022 | 6:00 p.m.

Asian Arts Initiative opens its Eco/Systems season with a most important round table on the essential principles of mutual aid in resistance movements. Robeson House’s Christopher Rogers with co-editor Fajr Muhammad present their book How We Stay Free: Notes on a Black Uprising on the occasion of its publication. They will be joined by Professor Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.d., author of the authoritative book on mutual aid practices in Black American history: Collective Courage: A History of Economic Thought and Practice. African-American cooperatives. register here.

Seed Exchange — Workshop
February 22, 2022 | 4:00 p.m.
Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Asian Arts Initiative organizes a cross-cultural seed exchange. Members of Truelove Seeds, Chronicling Resistance, Land Based Jawns and Bahay215 are included in the gathering as storytelling circle facilitators and leaders. In this seed exchange, we will celebrate the shared cultures of African and Asian diaspora farmers. This event is in-person and will require proof of vaccination or verifiable negative C19 test results. register here.

Anti-black ish
February 26, 2022 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

the Mayor’s Office of Youth Engagement, Philadelphia Youth Commissionand Millennium Advisory Committee come together this Black History Month to welcome “anti-black ish”. This community conversation will be a courageous space for young residents to talk about anti-black racism and its effect on the lives of black, non-black POC and white residents. Together we will understand the definition of anti-darkness, identify it when it manifests in our lives and communities, and learn best practices on how to use our individual power to end it. register here.

Black History Month Bunka-Sai Cultural Fair
February 26, 2022 | 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
School of the Future Auditorium, 4021 Parkside Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, in collaboration with, presents “Black History Month Bunka-sai (Cultural Fair)” – a day of film programming, animation workshops and taiko drum performances to explore the intersectional culture and history of the African American and Japanese American communities. Discover the program on A COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be hosted on site by Penn Medicine.

OPE invites community leaders and organizations to submit their ideas for programs that can create dialogue and unity between Asian and Black communities in specific neighborhoods, schools, community centers or virtually. OPE will maintain a calendar of events and promote Black+Gold Series activities through its weekly newsletter and social media channels. Ideas and events can be submitted via this form.