Encinitas4Equality Strives To Empower Black Community In North County
A new organization supporting the Black community in North County officially opened its doors Tuesday. Encinitas4Equality gives Black vendors space for their businesses and offers programs for underprivileged youth.
The concept of the organization began in June, after the killing of George Floyd.
There were nightly protests in Encinitas at the Magic Carpet Ride statue, better known locally as the Cardiff Kook, which were led by Mali Woods-Drake, Felicia Rawlins and Jody White. The three decided to form Encinitas4equality to bring lasting change.
“Our belief is that the end of racism begins with hello,” Woods-Drake said. “And so if we can begin to create real community between people that wouldn't likely end up in the same place, and we have an understanding of people's experiences and we have empathy, we will take action to demand justice for them.”
The group, also known as E4E, has raised more than $23,000 through crowdsourcing and private donors to bring the community space and Black collective into fruition. They have enough funding to stay at the 414 N. Coast Highway 101 location through at least December 2020.
The building is located near the Leucadia Famers Market and has provided the opportunity for the first Black-owned businesses to open in Encinitas.
San Diego-based artist Mischele Salvant said an organization like E4E is an example of what people from other cultures can do to help black communities across the United States.
“This is going to change the way the community thinks because it's not just a one-minded thing. We are all getting ideas and putting our thoughts into this,” shed said. “I see E4E taking it to the next level with the community and building that bridge that has been lacking for so many years.”
E4E also organizes daily runs to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed by police in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. The city agreed Tuesday to a $12 million settlement with Taylor's family in their wrongful death suit.
Five days a week, the group also hosts yoga in the park to support a black yogi scholarship fund, and provides free surf camps and tutoring for underserved youth.
Clothing designer Lili Klu represents her West African heritage in her fabrics. She is glad for the opportunity to sell her work in an affluent city such as Encinitas, especially during the difficult times brought upon her business by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a good opportunity. I'm very grateful to be here and I thank this community for doing this thing for us,” Klu said.
Encinitas4Equality is also seeking to improve six different areas of life for black and minority communities in North County: community building, policing, housing, allyship and education, youth and business.
“We urge everyone in the community, come by here, purchase Black,” Woods-Drake said. “But more importantly, come and have a conversation and dialogue about what we can all do together to end systemic oppression.”
Encinitas4Equality is in the process of obtaining a nonprofit status. This Friday, it is hosting its first fundraiser night to support a scholarship fund for local minority youth.
The community space is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.