Tag Archives: aaacc

MLK Day of Service 2019


This MLK Day, CommunityGrows joined the African-American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 2019 Day of Service. The event began at the AAACC with opening remarks from co-Executive Directors Melonie and Melorra Green, speakers Mayor Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, a spoken word performance by Arvaughn Williams, and AAACC’s very own Bushmama Africa, who called on “the ancestors to create a cover of protection on us and reverence for our ancestors” (AAACC website). The morning set the tone for the rest of the day as volunteers split off into groups to work on service projects in the neighborhood. Our BEETS led two volunteer groups on the Mall and at the AAACC.


This year, over 40 volunteers came out to work on maintenance and beautification projects at Buchanan Mall, the Fillmore mini-park, and the AAACC parking lot and garden plots. Volunteers also were involved with a letter writing campaign to political prisoners and some joined artist Kristine Mays on a community art project (see her art installation, Brutally Soft, at AAACC Jan 17-March 24). Everyone did an amazing job and we are so grateful to all of the volunteers.


Following the volunteer portion of the day was a (well deserved) community lunch. For the afternoon portion of the day, the AAACC had two film screenings for volunteers to learn more about political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. Thank you to the presenters who started and facilitated the discussion.


A huge shout-out to Pearci and the staff at AAACC for hosting this event, and thank you to all the volunteers who took time to come out and work with us. We appreciate your support and commitment to community.

GAP Workday in Buchanan Mall


On Friday, September 8th, volunteers from GAP joined CommunityGrows in Buchanan Mall and the AAACC to help us get the gardens in shape for the Fall season.




We started our afternoon with a visit from two Citizen Film representatives. They shared the story of how the community came together to create, and now maintain, the Buchanan Mall street gardens.




For the first part of the workday, we divided and conquered. One group assembled student journals for the Rosa Parks garden classes, while the other group began working in Buchanan Mall.




The gardens looked healthier after some weeding and trash pickup.




And the water and deadheading went a long way towards beautifying the plots.




Not to mention how welcoming the area looked after the leaves had been swept and collected!




There was also some heavy lifting involved, not that it stopped Colleen! (full disclosure: the bag is filled with leaves).




Thank you so much to the GAP volunteers for taking part of their Friday to help us clean up and give the gardens a fresh new look for Fall! Check out our Flickr page for more photos.




Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday January 16, 2017 CommunityGrows joined the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Martin Luther King Jr with a presentation and workday in various sites in the Western Addition. Great volunteers joined us from all over the Bay Area, with an especially large contingent from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. 1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_007-2eVolunteers met at the AAACC to sign in and enjoy a light breakfast. Then they were treated to a short presentation by John William Templeton, who spoke of the impact Dr. King had on the African American community in San Francisco. 1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_012eMr. Templeton is well known for curating a brochure entitled The African American Freedom Trail, and authoring books such as Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco,  and Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California.  He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally.  Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which highlight the African American history and culture of San Francisco. 1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_022eAfter the presentation, volunteers divided into groups to work at three sites: Buchanan Mall, the AAACC, and Koshland Garden. They were able to clean a large parking lot adjacent to the AAACC, collecting trash and renewing the native plant garden along the periphery.1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_024e1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_036e In Buchanan Mall, a five-block greenway on Buchanan Street, volunteers were able to collect trash and spruce up the garden.1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_033e1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_043e A few blocks away at Koshland Garden, CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and Paul Bergkamp sent teams of volunteers with our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) to different areas of the garden to flip compost, lay wood chips, pick up trash, prune trees and vines, weed, mulch and harvest peas, broccoli and mustard greens.1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_058e1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_089e1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_090e At lunch-time everyone met back at the AAACC to have a great lunch and receive thanks for the amazing work they did. 1.16.17-MLK DAY-Peter Merts_20170116_116eThank you everyone for a great day to uphold the values of giving back and volunteering for this important cause. A special thanks to Peter Merts for his beautiful photos! His photos can also be found on our CommunityGrows flickr photostream here.

Winter Carnival at the African American Arts & Culture Complex

12.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_5164On Saturday, December 12, 2015, the African American Arts & Culture Complex held it’s 15th Winter Carnival. 12.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_5150While Santa met youth inside the Complex with toy giveaways, and food, carnival and fun games prevailed in the parking lot. There were performances by Project Level, Village Dancers, Talent Allstars, PUSH Dance Company, Larkin Bukido Karate, Capoeira Angola,the UMCA Hayward Reconnect and others. 12.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_5095Some of the most fun was outside with the pony rides, checking out the animal farm, riding the saucers, flying the twirly-whirl, doing the arcade, and playing in the snow. 12.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_509612.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_508112.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_507212.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_509212.12.15-AAACC-Winterland_IMG_5108Great time was had by all. For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.