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In Houston, the National Black United Front, an organization that includes all social, political, religious and cultural groups in the Black community, took an abandoned former crack house and renovated it into a community meeting space. In Washington D.C. the organization created the Feed the Hood Project, a monthly distribution of basic needs such as food, personal hygiene products, medical supplies and clothing.
Now the 30-year-old organization, with chapters around the country, wants to bring their movement to Pittsburgh. At a meeting at the Homewood library on March 9, NBUF National Vice Chairperson Salim Adofo made a presentation on how his organization’s practices could be implemented in Pittsburgh and called on the Black community to put their differences aside.
“We’re here to talk about building a Black united front,” Adofo said. “A lot of times we let the names given to us by people who don’t care about us define who we are. It separates us and while we’re arguing about whose ideology is right, resources are being taken away.”
Formed in the 1970s NBUF has roots in the Black Nationalist movement of the civil rights era. The organization prides itself on not seeking government grants, which are the primary source of funding for many of Pittsburgh’s Black nonprofits.
“How can we as a community move forward if we are not financially independent and politically independent of the entity that put us in this position to begin with. We haven’t solicited a grant,” Adofo said. “We can’t deal with the issues and be funded by Capital One. We can’t advocate for reparations knowing the ancestors of those corporations are the ones that enslaved us and then ask them for a hand out.”
With this principal in mind, NBUF takes on small projects, drawing from resources within the community. Their areas of focus are Afrikan centered education and economic development.