Every morning I wake up and stretch while reaching for my phone in order to get reacquainted with my social media family. Today was no different, except I stumbled across a video interview that Carl Tone Jones (@Carltone11) did with business owner, Arnette Woodall the other day in West Philly on the corner of 62nd and Ludlow.
Carl is a friend and regular customer at West Phillie Produce and decided that he would interview Woodall for the simple fact that he is one of the few who are really ’bout the cause! We preach so much about bettering our Black communities, but not everyone wants to do the work.
Woodall built this store from the ground up– literally! His property and the surrounding buildings used to be drug lots, and oftentimes children and young adults were exposed to the deals being made out in the open, so “We bought the property and built West Philadelphia Produce on this lot so we could stop the drug trade,” he said, “and [instead] bring something healthy and nutritious to the community.”
The business owner and the walking epitome of brotherly love, got the community involved by teaching its youth how to do construction and some of the basics of landscaping. “[As an educator] at Sleighton Farms, we learned what we needed to do in the community to keep our young brothers and sisters from being put in harms way or [from] going to jail, which we call our Anti-Incarceration program,” and that has been running since 2001!
Many other programs have taken off since and they’re all free! It’s taken $1.3 million in counting for Woodall to fund the free programs, but look at all that they offer now: healthy cooking classes, line dancing for senior citizens, book and chess clubs, as well as community gardening! They even host an event called “Black Friday: National Nights Out” where artists come to entertain the community with live music for free. Woodall says that it’s purpose is “for the holistic healing that needs to be brought back to our community.”
Black businesses are booming now that more of us are becoming more aware of how much spending power we have, but they still need more support in order to fund things like Arnette Woodall has. “It takes support to be able to produce and to be able to not just be out [in the streets] pimping the cause,” he says. “We’re not going to pimp the cause. We don’t need a GoFundMe. We just need a “Come Support Me” and if we start supporting each other, [then] that is the key to our success. Black economics must be practiced, it must be exercised and it must take back our communities. Grassroots, black economics…[that’s] the only way it can be done.”
This man’s story is so inspiring. If you’d like to see the whole interview, then here ya go! Roommates, tag a Philadelphian and tell them to go support West Phillie Produce! And Meek Mill, Will Smith…get in here!!!
Click the link below for the interview!
Support Black Businesses! West Phillie Produce @ the corner of 62nd and Ludlow one block south of Market Street, Philly, PA. We talk solutions, let's listen to a brother that's making it happen!
Posted by Carl Tone Jones on Thursday, October 1, 2015
Source Cited: Facebook of Carl Tone Jones, https://www.facebook.com/cTone11/videos/10154184191604045/?pnref=story
TSR Intern: Talia O. @theclosetratchet on Instagram & @tallyohhh on Twitter!