By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
WJUC the Juice and Bag Lady Financial, Laticia Holmes, held an outdoor pop-up fundraiser for the African American Legacy Project on Collingwood and Door Saturday 23. The event hosted over 20 vendors with live music from DJ Keith Success and the Katch Band.
“We’re paying homage [with this event] to those businesses that lined Dorr Street from Division and Detroit” commented Robert Smith, executive director of the African American Legacy Project.
Since 2004, the AALP has been documenting the history of the Dorr Street corridor for future generations. The nonprofit is located at 1326 Collingwood (across from Jerusalem Baptist Church) and documents the surrounding area, where at its height, was home to nearly 400 black-owned businesses until the urban renewal polies of the 1970s.
“Our Dorr Street History Committee wanted to do something that would help to begin to educate generations who didn’t know or understand the impact of African American businesses on Dorr Street”, said Smith. The Dorr Street History Committee includes Lenard Bey, Pete Culp, Robert Goree, Dorris Greer, Debra Hogan, Rich Hogan and Louis Newsom.
“We want to encourage young entrepreneurs because…operating your own business… is a strong strategy to help rebuild a community. The purpose of this and other events we’ve done is to figure out ways that we can reimagine community,” stated Smith. “It’s just a wonderful feeling to watch young entrepreneurs actually be on the same ground that a few generations before kept alive.”
This fundraiser is a part of the WJUC’s continuing efforts of Connecting to Community. “We thought about how we can bring the young entrepreneurs together… we came together with Latisha Holmes, she’s the Queen of all Vendors, and put it together,” said Debra Hogan, president of Fleming Street Communication Inc, WJUC radio. “We [at the Juice] will do anything we can to support community especially the African American Legacy Project.”
Vendors included a wide array of products and services from food vendors to retail shopping and local awareness projects. Laticia Holmes, CEO of Bag Lady Financial, a financial improvement company, rallied the vendors for the event. Her organization helps people budget, repair and build their credit offering individual and group counseling. (Facebook/ IG BagLadyFinancial/ 567-393-0712) She plans to host future vendor and networking events.
Pamela Anderson of the Alzheimer’s Association held a booth at the event raffling off prizes during the day to draw awareness of the disease. She’s the organizer of Purple Sunday at Warren AME Church and host of the You are Not Alone Podcast with Pamela. She used the vendor space to bring awareness to the organization’s services and sign-up people for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Walk Oct 14.
“I’m here to try to develop partnerships with some of the black vendors, black businesses, black organizations because we need to get the knowledge out so they can host their own awareness event, tell somebody or even just get the information to help themselves or their family members…. This would be the best [place]”, said Anderson.
Next year the AALP will be celebrating 20 years of documenting our stories with big plans to commemorate the milestone including retuning Dorr Street Live, an outdoor music event, that was halted to covid. Future fundraisers for the organization include First Friday Fish Fry, October 6 from 11- 5 p.m. and monthly jazz shows starting this winter (both at 1326 Collingwood Blvd). To donate to the AALP or learn more information visit www.africanamericanlegacy.org.
The Juice will have a Caring for the Care Giver Expo at the Glass City Center with free parking, free food and free services for caregivers October 28 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.