New Restaurant Idea for the Disenfranchised and Homeless of Philadelphia, and the REST of us.....
It is an idea whose time has come. It was done, I believe, in other cities like Baltimore, and it has been successful. I'm talking about a full-service restaurant with all the bells and whistles and all the greatest food--disregarding pork and beef because they are dangerous to human health--a full-service restaurant that will provide food for disenfranchised people at a cost of whatever they can afford--including one cent if that is all they have, or even nothing. If they want to volunteer some time in the kitchen they can be trained to do so, if they have such abilities or potential abilities. They should NOT be excluded from having a meal if they have no such stability and talents.
My vision, and I have written about this several times before, is to have good, wholesome, inexpensive food that feeds into our tendency to be healthy. Food that can give the human body strength, stamina, an ability to do for themselves--as the Black Muslims say, and feed into the human brain and the human mind in a Way that will help all those attending move into a New Day and look at their New Day with a Positive Spirit and a positive attitude that we as Black People and the left out can achieve anything we want to if we set our minds to it and are willing to work.
I'm talking about fresh organic fruits and fresh organic vegetables, fresh farm-raised chicken and fresh fish that is cooked to perfection--tasty, well-spiced, and scrumptious. We are bringing together the different aspects of the Progressive forces and progressive restaurants in Philadelphia to make this a reality for the entire city. We will be under-written by people who have a little more money and an ability to pay, paying a little more for their meal than the rest of us, who might not be able to pay at all. We will also be getting grants and money from other generous private sources such as The Ford Foundation; The Paul Newman Foundation; The Robert F. Kennedy Foundation; The Enough Project; The Russell Simmons Foundation; Colin Powell's & His Wife's Foundation; The Danny Glover Foundation; The Michael Jordan Foundation; The Tyler Perry Foundation; The Will Smith and Jada Pinket-Smith Foundation; Charles Barkley's Foundation; Oprah Winfre's Foundation & The Oprah Angel's Network; Several Black Banks; and The Black Millionaire's Network. These organizations will be contacted to enlist their on-going support. We will also contact people in public office to ask if they can refer us to people with funds and money to make this a reality and not just a dream in a few People's minds.
Why are we doing this? First of all, we have to admit that it is NOT a new concept. Most of us Ole Heads remember the gracious Father Devine & His wife and His places to eat--and Hotels--that provided a delicious dinner for 25 cents back in the early 1960's. He was a Black religious leader who cared about people who didn't have much, which isn't very popular right now. We now, on March 8th, 2014, Saturday, live in a world and a city that is full of citizens who are focused on their own issues and their own finances even as the world economy continues to recover. We should always have room in our hearts for others, because one day, we may need someone else to have room in their heart for us.
Another reason we are doing this is because disenfranchised people and even Black people of means are treated like the last post on the totem pole--not given respect, honor, or the slightest of kindnesses when the Bible tells us we as Christians should be treating all People with much kindness. We read all the deep religious books, but don't really take their messages to heart. If we read what Jesus said, there would be no Way we could treat each other with such disgrace, and disrespect. But we do it all the time. I am constantly amazed at How I as a Black man can walk down the street and openly speak and say hello to White men and White women and they won't have a word to say. Now, if you look at it politically, they have their economic foot on our necks as Black people--because they own a large percentage of the stores, the hotels, the factories, the chemical facilities, and other means of production and then they can't even speak and say hello while we as Black People are left out of the advancement process and not given the jobs and ownership of businesses and access to Capital we need and must have to stabilize our community and raise our children properly? Something is very wrong with this picture. I don't have to go back 230 years and talk about slavery, I don't have to talk about the racism and hatred of Jim Crow in the ole South or How many Black people were killed during the Civil Rights era, I can look at what is happening right now. The continued discrimination. The continuing inability to achieve in schools that have curriculum's that are irrelevant to us as Black People. The continuing inability of our Black community to fess up to our addictions and begin a willing healing process. The continuing inability of so many Black leaders to lead in the correct and positive directions that truly lead to achievement, accomplishment, honor, dignity, Grace, our youth's Grace and Honor, and our ability to make the money we need to sustain ourselves. Yes, I'm talking about Cold Hard Cash people. But I'm also talking taking proper responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
Just today I went to the grocery store and was totally embarrassed at the check out line when instead of a full cart of groceries I had to buy instead, laundry detergent and some magnesium pills that help build strong bones and teeth. I had planned to make a Big Pot of chili for myself--full of string beans, red beans, black beans, onions, squash, scullions, tomato sauce, low sodium vegetable broth, garlic, spices like curry powder, cumin, and tamarack--that would have lasted the whole week. But now I guess I'll be forced to go back to the Church Missions for meals again after next week because there just isn't any money to buy the proper food I need. After having to pay my bank--PNC Bank-- $700.00 in bank fees, how could there be enough money to live off of? If you think I'm not sick of it--with having such fine-tuned, great writing skills and a host of other skills and yet I can't--at 57--find a job--even though I apply for them each and every week and have years of experience in the writing profession--yes I'm tired of the whole situation. Still I go on, and I don't want to digress. This is part of the whole reason for the restaurant--to treat people who have had it up to here concerning systemic and on-going unemployment , foreclosure and other hardships with some LOVe, respect, Honor and decency--not cast them aside like yesterday's ole worn out shoes.
So now you see why I do my work and advocate for the disenfranchised and Homeless of ALL races--especially Black People, and will continue to do so. This letter will have to sit here for a few days and I will have to take some of the heat out of it, but not the steam. I ask you for help in directly communicating to Black Sisters and Brothers who can help this restaurant become a reality.
This restaurant will also borrow from a few other restaurants in Philadelphia to take food that is not moldy or going bad, but food that is fresh, but left over. I want to make it a city-wide project that brings about a whole new Way of treating disenfranchised people and realizing: ``there but for the Grace of GOD go I.''