“We on an ultra light beam. This is a God dream. This is everything.” –Kanye West
he photo of the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library (currently under reconstruction) is literally a beacon in the night to the Washington Heights community, a neighborhood that has experienced abject disinvestment for decades.
The restoration, spearheaded by the Endeleo Institute is the direct result of a community-led effort to resuscitate an anchor institution as catalytic to redevelopment along the 95th Street Corridor which it will soon again, anchor proudly. The exposed beams metaphorically represent the strength of this venerable neighborhood and as current framing for the dramatic rebuilding of the walls take place, please know that despite circumstances our “infrastructure” as a people is still intact.
The song Ultra Light Beam, written by Chicago native Kanye West and features Chance the Rapper is basically an ode to Kanye’s faith in God.
At Endeleo, we oversee a program under our health initiative called REACH to Faith. REACH is the acronym for Research and Education in African-American Community Health and it is comprised of six African-American churches (including Trinity) in partnership with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine around memory loss.
For the past three years, the small tight knit group (founded by Trinitarian, Etta McGregor) has faithfully gathered to engage respective church communities on Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia, the insidious brain disease that impacts African-Americans 2 to 1 and is currently the sixth leading cause of death. You should know however, that under Endeleo’s leadership this small group of committed people have partnered with the Chicago Public Library to, upon its reopening transform Woodson into the city’s first Dementia-friendly library! Details are forthcoming but this already safe space will not only become more welcoming to those suffering from this debilitating disease but also be a destination for education, awareness and indeed respite for the caregivers who often go unnoticed in the tireless care of their loved ones.
This is just one of the many ways in which beyond physical improvements, Endeleo is building a culture of health in Washington Heights and helping us better see the light. This is everything.