PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement (OPE) is proud to launch a new initiative called the Black + Gold Series, focused on building cross-racial conversations and dialogue to promote cooperation and mutual understanding. The Office of Public Engagement will curate events, activities, foster conversations, and partner with community-based organizations and institutions to highlight efforts to bridge together Black and Asian communities in Philadelphia. The Black + Gold Series will start in February, with events throughout 2022.

“OPE’s conversations with diverse community and City leaders have all pointed to the fact that in our City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, there is much more work we must do to bridge divides and create opportunities for healing. The SEPTA incident that took place on November 17, 2021, involving African American and Asian American teenagers illuminated this need,” said Romana Lee-Akiyama, Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

February is a month that marks Black History Month, and the Lunar New Year — a holiday celebrated by 2 billion people of Asian descent across the globe. It’s a time of the year that is deeply important to both Black and many Asian communities, separately. OPE chose to launch the series in February to honor the possibilities of coming together and building bridges.

“We are so excited to help kick off this inspiring series,” said Jeanette Bavwidinsi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth Engagement. “The relationship between our city’s Asian and Black communities runs deep and spans generations. I am certain that the Black + Gold series will be a masterclass in human relations, coalition building, and forward-thinking — at a table set by Asian and Black community members, but open to every resident yearning for a more perfect Philadelphia.”

Upcoming Events as part of the Black + Gold Series

Philadelphia Black Uprising & Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D.
February 18, 2022 | 6:00 p.m.

Asian Arts Initiative opens its Eco/Systems season with a most significant round table discussion on the critical tenets of mutual aid in resistance movements. Christopher Rogers of the Robeson House with co-editor Fajr Muhammad present their book How We Stay Free: Notes on a Black Uprising on the occasion of its publication. They will be joined by Professor Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.d., author of the authoritative history on mutual aid practices in Black American history: Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. Register here.

Seed Exchange — Workshop
February 22, 2022 | 4:00 p.m.
Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Asian Arts Initiative is hosting an intercultural Seed Exchange. Included in the gathering as facilitators and leaders in the storytelling circle are members of Truelove Seeds, Chronicling Resistance, Land Based Jawns, and Bahay215. In this seed exchange, we’ll celebrate the shared cultivator cultures of the African and Asian diaspora. This event is in-person and will require proof of vaccination or verifiable negative results on C19 tests. Register here.

February 26, 2022 | 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The Mayor’s Office of Youth Engagement, Philadelphia Youth Commission, and Millennial Advisory Committee are coming together this Black History Month to host “anti-black·ish”. This community conversation will be a brave space for young residents to talk about anti-black racism, and its effect on the lives of Black, non-Black POC, and White residents alike. Together we’ll understand the definition of anti-blackness, identify it when it shows up in our lives and communities, and learn best practices on how to use our individual power to put an end to it. Register here.

Black History Month Bunka-Sai Cultural Fair
February 26, 2022 | 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Auditorium of The School of the Future, 4021 Parkside Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, in collaboration with, presents “Black History Month Bunka-sai (Cultural Fair)” – a day of film programming, anime workshops, and taiko drum performances to explore the cultural and historical intersections of African American and Japanese American Communities. Learn about the program on A COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic will be onsite hosted by Penn Medicine.

OPE invites community leaders and organizations to submit their ideas for programs that can create dialog and unity across Asian and Black communities in specific neighborhoods, schools, community centers, or virtually. OPE will maintain a calendar of events and promote Black + Gold Series activities through their weekly newsletter and social media channels. Ideas and events can be submitted through this form.