By Ron Lindsey
Broken lives and families are being woven together in West Oakland and throughout the Greater Bay Area thanks to a program tailored made for African American Families.
The Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture, a community based non-profit think tank, has for the last 30 years provided ground breaking research that has impacted the discipline of Black Psychology and helped pave the way for culturally balanced educational curriculum for African American students.
The pioneering efforts of Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Lawford Goddard, and William E. Cavil III are dedicated to research that reconnects African Americans to their positive culture values, which help mend unraveling households and families.
The works of these three scholars have been highly recognized on college campuses and in textbook. However, “New Institute” CEO Mike Nobles has a new vision to expand the capacity of their data and research.
Having a history in social service programs, he plans to apply the historical research and data to create programs that provide direct services to African American Families.
Nobles commented on the three basic goals of the Institute being the re-unification of families, the reclaiming of positive culture and traditions, and the revitalization of the African American community.
Nobles speaks about the importance, quoting an African proverb: “I am because we are. We are because I am.” This quote signifies the spiritual connection that helped African Americans overcome the obstacles along their journey and struggle in America.
Too often people ignore or even forget that historically for American Americans, there have been devastating events such as Slavery, Jim Crow and the War on Drugs, which have all caused ongoing damage to family structure.
Many people claim the family has been destroyed, but the Institute believes that although African American family ties may be loose, they are still connected based on common shared experiences.
The Enhancing the Fabric of Family Program, designed to address the issues concerning African American families, suggests that the family has only been broken, not destroyed, and the community must have “Family Courageous Talks” to find ways to let the family be unbroken.
So far, the Enhancing the Fabric of Family (EFF) program seems to be successfully reaching families primarily in the West Oakland community.
According to the Institute’s Program Director of Operations Dawn Edwards, during the last five years, over 500 people to participate in the program with an 80 percent rate of completion.
There have been many powerful stories from the program.
A former participant in the program, Tikyah Battles through her outstanding community organizing work has become the lead family advocate of the program. T
This eight-week family workshop series is designed to build better relationships within nuclear families and plant the seed to establish extended families throughout the African American community.
In order to achieve the program’s goal, of restoring the family and designing structures for positive youth development, the EFF program is calling on the community to participate in these ongoing Family Courageous Talks.
For more information or to find out about the next workshop series, contact the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture at (510) 836-3245.