2014-02-27 17:39:08 - Ebony Awakening honors the efforts of a North Greenwood community group to take responsibility for their Martin Luther King Center and help serve the needs of its 6,200 residents, 80% of whom receive low to moderate incomes.
February 2013, Clearwater, Florida – On the 17th of February, Ebony Awakening, (a group formed in the 1970’s to help improve conditions among African Americans), celebrated Black History Month at downtown Clearwater’s Fort Harrison with the announcement of a building fund they have created for the renovation of the Clearwater Martin Luther King Community Center in North Greenwood. Their first donor was the Church of Scientology. Church representative, Pat Harney, presented a check for $2,500 for the building fund to Wade Clark, the President of the Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Coalition (CLW MLK NCC), the group that is spearheading the re-establishment of the center.
Milton James, the President of Ebony Awakening said, “As we celebrate Black History Month,
it is important to look back at the accomplishments of African Americans and review them against the challenging statistics we face.”
In 2012, the Clearwater Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which targets the North Greenwood area, held a Community Consultation process. One result of that process showed a high unemployment level for the area and a large disparity between the North Greenwood area and the rest of the City of Clearwater. Some of the reasons given were lack of educational attainment and economical disadvantage.
At the same time, Black Demographics.com posted statistics which showed some promising trends among Black America including an increase of 60% in a 5-year period in the number of black-owned businesses.
Wade Clark said, “The Clearwater Martin Luther King Community Center is establishing projects to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth of the community and improve education so as to continue this promising trend. This is how we will create a better future for our children.”
For over 40 years, the Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center not only provided a location for weddings and events but helped many youth move on to successful careers. One famous son of the Center is Leonard Johnson, now one of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who with his brothers and sisters visited the center regularly for help with homework and to practice his football skills.
Two years ago, due to the economic downturn, the center was closed down. That was when a group of concerned citizens and organizations set up the CLW MLK NCC as a non-profit 501c(3) organization in order to do what was necessary to reopen the Center. The coalition successfully lobbied the Pinellas County School Board, the owners of the property, to lease the center to them.
The coalition’s next target is to raise the funds needed to repair the roof and the AC so the center can be reopened to the neighborhood it served for decades. The coalition needs another $20,000 to complete the renovations, a target they have set for the end of 2014.
What is Ebony Awakening?
Ebony Awakening is a diverse group of Americans who were formed in 1972 to promote best practices meant to eradicate drug abuse, illiteracy and criminality so that African Americans can live in peace and prosperity and thus restore their dignity and self-respect. They claim their inspiration from the successful application of rehabilitative and educational technologies developed by American humanitarian, L. Ron Hubbard.