Thirteen community leaders from around the country featured
HARTFORD, Conn. – The quest to create sustainable communities requires ideas and strategies that reinvigorate neighborhoods while meeting the diverse needs of existing and future residents. Embracing that mission are thirteen civic-minded individuals highlighted in the 2014 Aetna African-American Calendar titled, "Community Transformations: African Americans creating sustainable neighborhoods."
Aetna (NYSE: AET) has produced the African-American History Calendar since 1982 as an annual tribute to the extraordinary and educational endeavors of African Americans throughout the country. The 2014 calendar marks the 33rd anniversary edition.
"Sustainability is now at the forefront of contemporary community development practices," writes Dr. Roland V. Anglin, associate research professor and director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University – Newark. In the calendar introduction Dr. Anglin goes on to explain, "Over the past 40 years, the community development movement in the United States has supported residents working together, with the help of public and private sectors, to build affordable housing, encourage small business growth and train the unemployed."
"I commend the efforts of individuals who have dedicated their lives to transforming their communities in ways that will endure for generations to come," said Mark T. Bertolini, chairman, CEO and president of Aetna. "Creating sustainable, healthy neighborhoods provides opportunities for citizens to work together toward a collective vision that will create social and economic benefits."
"Aetna is proud to showcase the contributions of individuals who, like Aetna, are dedicated to creating sustainable communities," said Floyd W. Green III, Aetna's vice president of Community Relations and Urban Marketing.
The community leaders featured in the calendar understand the needs of their neighborhoods, and work to identify and implement viable solutions. For example, Sylvester Brown, Jr., an award-winning journalist, columnist and publisher in St. Louis, Mo., founded the Sweet Potato Project to teach teens how to become successful entrepreneurs. Artist Rick Lowe creates a sense of community through the celebration of African-American history, culture and art in Houston. Kelly D. Carlisle, a veteran of the United States Navy, runs a youth urban farm project in Oakland, Calif.
Other leaders profiled in the 2014 calendar are:
Kirk Mayes, executive director of the Brightmoor Alliance, who revitalizes neighborhoods in Detroit by addressing issues such as employment, safety, housing, human services and recreation;
Tony Hillery, founder of Harlem Grown in New York City, who works to create a network of neighborhood farms and spread its produce and social benefits through Harlem;
Jenga Mwendo who created Backyard Gardeners Network in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood in New Orleans as a way to build a sense of community, revitalize the neighborhood and preserve culture through urban gardening;
Karen Washington, a Just Food board member and food trainer in New York City, who helps connect communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible;
Ron Finley, founder of the Ron Finley Project in Los Angeles, who teaches people in urban areas that growing their own food can lead to healthier lives and healthier communities;
Robin Emmons, creator of Sow Much Good in Charlotte, NC, who transforms communities by providing access to fresh, affordable food;
Haile Johnston, who co-founded the Common Market and East Park Revitalization Alliance in Philadelphia as a way to connect schools, hospitals, grocery stores and workplaces with food grown by sustainable farmers in the region, as well as to teach teens about food production and entrepreneurship;
K. Rashid Nuri, an urban farmer in Atlanta, who builds sustainable communities by connecting people with the land through education, training and demonstration of economic success in natural urban agriculture; and
Charmaine Craig, a community outreach director for Knox, Inc., who works to build greener, stronger, healthier and more beautiful neighborhoods in Hartford, Conn.
The 2014 calendar is available for $4 by calling 860-273-0509. The online version of the calendar is available at http://aetnaafricanamericancalendar.com/2014/.
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