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Community Builds Uhuru Health Festival in Philadelphia

African People's Education & Defense Fund builds health & economic development programs in the Northeast US!

Community Builds 2015 Uhuru Health Festival in Philadelphia

Are you curious about a black community perspective on alternative health solutions? Do you want to try things like yoga, soul line dance, capoeira, zumba, and other healthy movement programs? Do you need to know your blood pressure, or HIV status? Do you love to browse flea markets and craft fairs in the park?

The African People’s Education and Defense Fund, along with our many community partners, are proud to invite everyone to participate in the 4th annual Uhuru Health Festival, which will be occurring alongside the first Uhuru Flea Market of 2015, its 11th year running. The Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market will be held on Saturday, April 18th in West Philadelphia’s beautiful Clark Park, located at 43rd St. and Chester Ave. The Rain Date will be on Sunday, April 19th.

This lively and informative all-day outdoor festival is free and open to the community from 9am-5pm. The Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market will feature live music, children’s and family-oriented activities, healthy food, informational speakers, natural & alternative health resources, free health screenings and consultations, exercise & movement programs for all ages, approximately 100 craft & market vendors, and much, much more.

The Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market is an African community-led project organized to end the health and economic disparities in the African community of Philadelphia. This event aims to get the community involved in improving our collective health, growing sustainable economic development by and for the black community, and building African self-determination.

This year’s festival will have all kinds of entertaining and informative events. They will feature: John Thomas, director of the All People’s Tyron Lewis Community Gym in St. Petersburg, FL., leading a workshop on Movement Matters; live drumming and jazz music performed by Karen Smith and the Weez the People Ensemble; capoeira instruction led by Ron Wood of Philadelphia’s Capoeira Nao Compreendo; yoga with Pamela Paraison; soul line dance led by Gloria Kingcade; and many more engaging demonstrations!

There will be plenty of exercise and movement workshops that people of all ages and fitness levels can participate in. These workshops will include yoga, capoeira, line dance, Zumba, belly dance, how to get a workout without joining a gym, and how to get an everyday workout in a chair, among others.

The Uhuru Health Festival has planned to provide health resources to the community during the event, including nutrition information & healthy food giveaways; confidential diabetes, hypertension, stress, eye, and HIV testing; infant & maternal health resources; therapeutic massage; natural and alternative health information & products; and even more.

Philadelphia has over 40% of its black community living in poverty. This is the highest rate of poverty in the state of Pennsylvania, and causes some of the harshest living conditions in the U.S. Compared to the rest of the U.S.’s cities, Philly has the second-highest rate of hunger overall, and the highest rate of child hunger. Over 50% of the Philadelphia black community’s men and 75% of its young people are unemployed. The black community deals with daily discriminatory policies of the police, court, and prison systems, which disrupt community life and affect the physical & mental health of whole families.

In a city with five nationally recognized hospital systems, Philly’s rate of infant death is comparable to some of the most impoverished countries in the world. Sixty-six percent of the infant deaths in Philadelphia are black babies. The HIV/AIDS rate in Philadelphia is five times that of the overall U.S. rate, and 69% of all newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in Philadelphia are black men.

In addition to the stress of these dire conditions, the black community also has to face the lack of quality health care, an underfunded school system that is hostile to black children, and industrial pollution in our neighborhoods. This creates a toxic mix that leads to the highest rate of high blood pressure in the world, too-high death rates from curable diseases, and lower life expectancy. Densely populated areas in North and West Philadelphia do not have access to large grocery stores, which lowers life expectancy on its own.

All of these conditions are preventable and unsustainable. No city can be healthy when huge sectors of the population live in these circumstances. APEDF believe it is in everyone’s interest to solve these problems! We are committed to building community-based solutions that transform the quality of life for the people and establish self-reliance in the African community. This transformation only comes from power in the hands of African people to control our own health, food, education, community commerce, and public safety.

APEDF has a long history of building self-reliance programs. In addition to our many previous health festivals and flea markets, APEDF is celebrating 21 years of Philly’s much loved Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, now open at 832 N. Broad St. Other APEDF institutions are the All People’s Tyron Lewis Community Gym, and Uhuru Jiko (Freedom Kitchen), a health and economic development project opened in St. Petersburg, FL. to create community commerce by providing a low-cost licensed kitchen to fledgling food businesses. APEDF also built a series of educational programs; children’s free lunch & sports programs; workshops and weightlifting competitions; free HIV testing; Uhuru House community centers; and community gardens.

APEDF, Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market, and our community partners are building collective, on-going African community health and economic development programs that our community needs to transform our health. There is room for everyone!

We are holding a series of community meetings for anyone who wants to get involved with growing and promoting this positive program. The meetings are on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8pm on the second floor of Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, 832 N. Broad St., on March 4th & 18th, and April 1st & 15th.

Call 215-546-1485 • uhurufurniturephilly.blogspot.com • uhuruhealthfest.blogspot.com

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