This Black History Month, we reflect on both the achievements and struggles of African Americans, from the foundations of our country to present day. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 served as a major turning point, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and formally made segregation in the country illegal, the generations of oppression of Black Americans (especially within the areas of education and healthcare) did not disappear overnight. There have been many successes to be proud of, but there is still a need to lift up the community and strive for equity as we work towards a brighter future. Consider getting involved with the following organizations below that have close ties to uplifting Atlanta’s Black community.
Advance the Lives (ATL)
Advance the Lives (with a fitting acronym of “ATL”) serves to create long-lasting social change in Atlanta, specifically around combating the systemic barriers faced by Black youth in the area of education. Their mission is to create generational change by tackling inequality in education at the youth level.
Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta
By focusing on creating safe, inclusive and engaging environments for children and teenagers, the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta offers programs that provide character development, healthy lifestyles and academic success. The Atlanta chapter has 26 clubs in 11 counties within the metro Atlanta area, serving 8,000 kids and teenagers from the ages of six to 18.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta is a mentoring program that pairs a “Big” and a “Little” together to learn and grow from each other through get-togethers such as hanging out at a park, visiting a museum, school assistance, career readiness discussions and more. Get involved by being a Big to help change the life of a Little, or getting a Big if you know a Little in need.
Urban League of Greater Atlanta
The mission of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, which is the local chapter of the National Urban League, is to focus on the economic success of African-Americans by coaching them toward a better life. Their six tenets include education and job-skills training; employment, careers and entrepreneurship; housing and community development; financial literacy and wealth creation; youth empowerment; and policy and legislative affairs.
United Negro College Fund, Atlanta Chapter
The United Negro College Fund believes that “the mind is a terrible thing to waste” and looks to provide equal access to a college education for all. To that end, they offer college scholarships to invest in bright futures and fulfilling careers. The Atlanta chapter primarily focuses on students within the states of Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.
HOPE Atlanta provides a support system to combat homelessness and hunger in Atlanta, believing that these should be temporary states and not labels that define an individual. They provide stable housing, rental assistance, eviction protection, emergency services and other supportive programs.
Primarily engaging the Grove Park neighborhood of Atlanta, PAWKids provides resources to empower and encourage families to thrive, which in turn strengthens the surrounding neighborhood. Some of their offerings include summer programs, Saturday clubs, academic programs for children, resource nights, and Thursday night dinners for families.
100 Black Men of Atlanta
100 Black Men of Atlanta is the Atlanta chapter of the broader 100 Black Men of America organization (also located in Atlanta). The chapter consists of around 200 members, whose mission is to support and empower African-American youth in Atlanta, primarily within education and economic programs that promote positive change.
Healthy Black Communities
Healthy Black Communities (HBC) has multiple centers, each with different focus areas. Their Center for Black Family Wellness aims to solve for the health disparities in the African-American community, focusing on multiple aspects of wellness, such as intellectual, physical, social, emotional, financial, and more. HBC also has a Center for Organizational and Technology Development, a Center for Same-Gender Loving Development, and a Center for International Excellence that broadens its reach beyond Atlanta.
Atlanta Black Chambers
The focus of Atlanta Black Chambers (“ABC”) represents over 400 market sectors and has a primary mission to create opportunities in the areas encompassed by those sectors: community, business and government. ABC strives to address the interests of African-Americans from a purely economic perspective, both within Atlanta and across the country.