JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Northside business leaders held a celebration at a coffee shop on Dunn Avenue where they kicked off a new campaign they hope will strengthen the community and bring different races together. They hope to do that by promoting cultural events where there were none.
An Earth Hour celebration on Saturday night is where the NASEMBA Business Alliance kicked off their Cultural Awareness and Community Image Enhancement Campaign.
They are calling the area a new name, Blossom Ridge, bordered by the Trout River on the south, I-95 on the east and I-295 on the north and west. It is an area the group says has no theaters, no first-class restaurants, no high-end hotels and nothing much for the community to do there. They hope to change that.
Richard Cuff of NASEMBA plans to hold Jazz Fest Under The Stars events at a park during the spring and summer, featuring some talented individuals who live right here in the Blossom Ridge area.
“So with more cultural events in the community, we feel like the image of the community, the image of Blossom Ridge, will be raised and we will see the good things coming out of the community,” said Cuff.
His group encourages business leaders to do social good.
At these events, they also hope to have conversations encouraging individuals to work together to solve community issues such as promoting literacy and stem the tide of crime.
“When the news only carries the negative you are not aware of the fact that there are kids who are leaving this community, going off to college, coming back with degrees in music and teaching kids and they are actually teaching our young kids. We think if more kids know about that, they become aware of it, they will see it as a regular part of their culture, meaning, ‘hey I can do that too, I can be a doctor, I can play a violin.'”
Cuff unveiled a new logo for the campaign, calling it ‘Race Together,’ which features a heart highlighted by a searchlight, hoping people of all races can embrace each others’ culture.
“I hope to take the word race and to get it to not mean skin color or ethnic origin, and get it to have more of a connotation, human race, that we are all in this race together.”
NASEMBA also hopes to expand its Guiding Success program later this year. It started in 2011 giving 4 pre-school children music lessons. They now provide lessons for 200 young children. The group hopes to provide 600 children under the age of 6 music lessons.
The group is also hoping to attract other business partners to the community and help the community grow. NASEMBA Business Alliance is a small business and community development initiative created to provide a base of support for small and emerging businesses. They encourage the fair-market exchange of goods and services between its members.
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