NEW ORLEANS – A new campaign featuring a series of community conversations focused on key issues will begin in New Orleans this month, as part of a new community-led effort designed to inspire conversation and action and help make New Orleans a child-centered city.
I am New Orleans, developed in partnership with more than 30 community organizations and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, provides a platform for residents, leaders and stakeholders to powerfully unite to advance racial equity across six key areas: maternal and child health, workforce, food, early childhood education, opportunities and challenges facing young men and boys of color, and generational change.
Community organizations – including the New Orleans Business Alliance, Nola Baby Cafe’, Ashé Cultural Arts Center and others (see full list) – are engaged in leading select conversations, promoting this locally-focused campaign and encouraging others to drive solutions.
The campaign kicks off with its first virtual discussion about equitable economic development at 1 p.m. CT Feb. 24, and the release of a video capturing the voice and vision of community leaders. To learn more about the campaign or register for the event, go to IamNewOrleansVoices.com.
“We’re excited to support timely and action-focused conversations around racial equity that bring community voices together to visualize and realize a city where all children and their families can thrive,” said Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of Mississippi and New Orleans programs at the Kellogg Foundation.
Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes, executive director at Ashé Cultural Arts Center, said she hopes the community sees themselves in these stories and conversations and adds to the dialog using #IamNewOrleans on social media.
“We want I Am New Orleans to inspire action and encourage collaboration among the community in working toward a more equitable city for our future,” said Ecclesiastes. “The possibilities are endless when we join together on a common goal for our children.”
The year-long project can be found at IamNewOrleansVoices.com and will include topical videos and live conversations featuring groundbreaking leaders and activists in the community.
“Throughout 2021, this opportunity to uplift New Orleans’ voices across several events will advance the progress across the various focus areas positively impacting generations to come,” said Troy Glover, director at the Center for Employment Opportunities in New Orleans.
CBS-affiliate WWL-TV 4 in New Orleans will help promote the I am New Orleans conversations, deepening their reporting on racial equity issues, specifically around the opportunities and challenges facing young men and boys of color and maternal and child health.
“We’re thrilled to bring I am New Orleans conversations to the forefront of the news cycle, providing greater insight into the current state of the city and sharing how community partners can move forward as one to achieve equity and expanded opportunity,” said Tod Smith, president and general manager, WWL-TV/WUPL-TV.
Follow along with the project’s scheduled events at IamNewOrleansVoices.com and on WKKF’s social platforms (Twitter @WK_Kellogg_Fdn; Facebook @KelloggFoundation; Instagram @KelloggFoundation) and using #IamNewOrleans.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.
Following New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina, WKKF in 2008 named the city a priority place for its investments for at least a generation and has staffed offices in the city.