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OneRouge Community Check-In: Week 195

Since March 2020 during the Covid outbreak a rotating group of 400+ community leaders from the business, municipal, and nonprofit sectors have gathered every Friday morning via Zoom to listen and discuss issues that are impacting the Capital Region in Louisiana. These conversations cover a wide range of topics connected to the Nine Drivers of Poverty. From the beginning, the objective has been to provide a brave space for honest dialogue and identify systematic challenges, but most importantly to present collective impact solutions. 

This week we will be diving into the three drivers whose coalitions have fully launched! Join us as our co-chairs for Capital Area Food EquityEducation to Career, and Transportation and Mobility Coalitions give an update on who we are, what we do, and how you can be involved!



Pepper Roussel: It's Fri-yay!  

Casey Phillips: That's right. That's right. Adonica, every once in a while, I like to put you on the spot and I'm going to give Jan the grace because of our lunch yesterday, not to do it to her. Adonica, would love to share. Can you share something amazing that happened this week for you and the Alliance this week? 

Adonica Pelichet Duggan: We got the recap video that we're going to be posting later today for our Education as a Civil Right event. And it's just really encapsulates the feeling of what we were trying to capture in that moment. So that was really exciting. Be on the lookout for that. But we are, I feel like it really told the story of what we were trying to do with that event. So I'm excited about that. And just to be able to continue to convene community in that way. 

Jan Ross: Yeah. So where is it going to be released?  Where can we go to?

Adonica: It will be on all of our social platforms, all the things if you're not following the Alliance, you should be on the LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Casey: Okay, awesome. Yeah, that was an incredible event. And I know I'm overstating the obvious. I learned a lot. During the panels, but it is hard not to lift up how powerful the student panel was and the perspectives, the unfiltered perspectives, and quite frankly, unexpected, there's a lot of narrative around young creators and like what they people assume that they think, and I can trust you. And so trust me as someone who works with teams a lot, don't underestimate how high their thinking is and the depth of their perspective. So it was anyway, I fumbled on the words about it. Can you say it?  

Adonica: Yeah, not to go down that rabbit hole too much, but I do think it is an important feedback loop for us to have, we think we know what young people want and what their experiences are. But the reason we do that youth voice project is so that we're continuing to refine our thinking around policy issues. And just being able to amplify their voices and also just like seeing the future of our city and these talented young people is always one of those things that just really does my heart good. Yeah, as a mom of four teenagers, I will tell you that they have very strong opinions. And we had saw those on display in that moment. So I was grateful for that.  

Casey: No doubt, and everybody don't sleep on it next year if you didn't go to this education as a civil right conferences that have been, I believe every year that it's held and it's been different. Every single experience is unique. And in what you take away from it will always be different. So make sure to give them the shout out for BR Alliance. So now moving on to the shout out we have a really great update for everyone today on all the work that's been going on with one region. We consistently say in OneRouge, we're not creating new work, we're bringing people in organizations, work. into a collective impact vehicle and actually amplifying what they're already doing. So we'll talk, we'll go and take this at a lot of different levels. But on the ground level, one of the things that we do is when one of our best partners with the Capital Area United Way they have a very important event that's coming up and we wanted to give them the floor to be able to amplify what they're doing. Miss Emily Boudreaux is with us today and Emily, your five minutes begins.  

Emily Boudreaux: Thank you, Casey. Good morning. I'm Emily Boudreaux, the lead of Women United here at Capital Area United Way, and next week to kick off Women's History Month, we are hosting a Women Empowering Women event Thursday, March 7th. This will be at the BREC Milton J. Womack Park right off of Florida and Ardenwood. We're looking to have somewhere between  150 and 200 women come out. The day will consist of job skills training, which will be interview skills, resume building, and then actual walkthroughs of how to apply to jobs online through linkedin or whatever job platform they're using. We'll also have a boutique. For women to leave with at least two to three outfits for job interviews, things like that. And so big shout out to everyone in the community that has donated. We have probably enough clothes to open up a very nice thrift store. So we're looking forward to that. We'll also have a cooking demonstration from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, where every attendee will leave with a bag of fresh produce so that they're able to cook those recipes at home for their families, along with gift cards to associated grocers. So it's going to be a big event all about empowering women not to include, I believe, the 21 or 22 resource tables and vendors we will have there. So we are looking for attendees. I'll drop the flyer and registration in the chat. We are also in search of volunteers to help with those breakout sessions and just to man the boutique and different things. Throughout the day. So thank y'all.  

Casey: Excellent. Thank you, Emily, so much. And I know that you're going to put everything into the chat, but everyone in the OneRouge family as Manny welcomed everybody, welcome to Friday, OneRouge fam please come out and support the United Way at that event and spread the word into your networks.So Pepper how you be today?

Pepper: It's a Friday and you know how much I love being here with y'all. I was very excited for a moment because even though you and Flitterbell are not on the same color story, me and Adonica are. I got speed going on baby. And so I am super excited that y'all are here with us on this Friday. I don't know whether you've noticed, but once a quarter we meet. In person and have, the strategy sessions around what it is that one Rouge is doing, how it is we're doing it. And this is not just the three coalitions as they exist, but it is also the leadership of those coalitions. And then immediately following the Friday after that's this one. We share out with y'all who couldn't make the meetings, just to be sure that you know what's going on with us and how you can get in where you fit in. If y'all don't mind, we'll start with the Tuesday meeting, which is Education 2 Career, and that's Adonica, and I don't see Dustin as our co chairs, as well as our Shepherd du jour Casey Phillips. Adonica, if you want to start us off, your five minutes starts now.  

Adonica: Yeah I feel like you're hearing a lot from me today. But happy Friday, everybody. I think we had a really great meeting last Tuesday. Oh, yeah, I think my days are all running together last Tuesday. We had the opportunity to gather with the coalition and really begin to finalize our goals and milestones and actually put some action steps to those goals and milestones and assign tasks. Which is somebody who's like super action oriented. That was really exciting to get to that point. I know that we've done a lot of planning, but there was a lot of laying of the foundation that was necessary to make sure that we had our goals ready to go.  Just for a reminder for those of you who aren't involved in education. To career, which you all we all should be. We work in the working groups of literacy schools as community hubs, early childhood, continuous learning and workforce. So those are the 4 kind of coalitions working groups that we have within the education to career coalition. And we work on the goals of creating a culture that values increases literacy rates, increasing equitable access to safe learning spaces, expanding awareness and access to early childhood. And then increasing opportunities for continuous learning. And so one of the things that we really started to spend some time doing like I work on the literacy coalition is gathering  the information that's necessary to move towards the next steps. In order to set our goals around how much we want to increase literacy, we have to have the information of. What are current literacy rates? What have the trends look like? So that in our next meeting, we're able to push on those goals and make some action steps around those things. I feel like we've gotten to a place where  there's assignments being handed out, there's work being done, and we're really moving the needle on those areas. And I know that each of the other working groups within the coalition did a lot of did a lot of refining of their tasks, a lot of definitions of what we're actually talking about. And the groundwork to get to where we are right now. Anything else, Casey?  

Casey: No, said. Yeah, I would say I'm most excited about the task being assigned as well. And so we'll be releasing the notes either today or on Monday. Those will be going live to everybody in the coalition. But more importantly, everybody that wants to be involved in the work, there's actually going to be online. There will be a working group, like in transparency, Like what's getting done by the due dates. And then we'll be using that open source document as the way that when we do our monthly check ins coming up in March, we'll see where what has been done, what hasn't been done. And that, that becomes not only a transparent process, but it also gives a way for new people to come into the coalition. That maybe hasn't been at the table for the last, two years on the planning side in the initial phases of it to be able to literally hit the ground running know exactly what's going on once it got acclimated to the landscape across the board. The second thing that one just lift up is, I see Dr. Jones on the call today. You have like people who have been lifelong servants and a lot of this work that are very much engaged and there's also there were some brand new faces around the table. And what I noticed about the space was, is that, folks who have been doing this for a while, they lean back a little bit and allow other people to get in, get their voice to be heard and then connect them to resources to help them move things forward. And then not just there to talk about what they're doing. Dr. Jones offered up so many resources that go beyond what she's doing at BRCC, which quite frankly is more than I can even imagine doing. As I said, it was it was just a very free flow of resources and and people raising it. Busy people. Who are already busy raising their hand to make sure the work gets done. And that was like probably the most inspiring part of it. Adonica, thank you for your co leadership for all these years. And I feel like it's starting to really hit the ground and running. Pepper. Oh, I'm sorry, Adonica. Do you have anything else?

Adonica: Yeah, one more thing I would say one thing that we continue to identify in education and careers is that we need more folks who are in the early childhood space. And, just because there tends to be K 12 heavy, so just wanted to raise the flag that if you know anyone who is in the early childhood space who wants to get involved in the coalition, we are always looking for more voices from that space. It tends to be the place where we were workforce heavy and K 12, but we really tend to need more voices in that early childhood space. So just wanted to put that out there. 

Pepper: So yeah tracking through the rest of the week on Wednesday, we had our Capital Area Food Equity Coalition meeting. And so my food friends are here. That's co chairs Nichola Hall and Jan Ross. So I'm going to step aside and let y'all share what we talked about your five minutes each if you want them start now.

Jan Ross: We have a lot of time, but I think that Helena was going to start us out. Are you ready? 

Helena Williams: Yeah, so just to recap what has happened since the new year. CAFE, the Capital Area Food Equity Coalition, had really big opportunity with the summer feeding. So in January,  Louisiana had not yet opted into the summer EBT, which is a USDA federal thing that all states can get into, but Louisiana had not adopted it. And January, we wanted to focus on knowing and understanding what does that mean if we don't and how can we support the adoption of this summer EBT.  It was due by February 15th. So by the February meeting, it had.  So we wanted to use our February meeting to create action so that the summer feeding could be primarily around children of, and I'm sorry, the summer EBT is all for school in school age youth to be able to have access to food during the summer break. And and so our February meeting was saying okay so that did not happen. We want to look at it in two pathways one to continue to push because just because we missed this window doesn't mean we cannot opt into it into the future. And the next one is the next path was okay so we there are still feeding programs happening, how can we make sure that they have greater impact and greater development, and that's where I want Nichola if you want to hop in to talk more about the summer feeding are actually sorry, I'm skipping my notes. First Jan, if you want to talk about the first path, which is how can we opt into it into the future? How are we going about that with the letter campaign that we're drafting? 

Jan: Okay, Helena. Thanks very much. But I will start out with the goals of CAFE. And because this activity that we have really dove into really hits on a couple of them. So the goals are just very briefly ending hunger by providing three healthy meals a day for every day. For every person teaching to grow, promoting the benefits that are available for those that are food insecure. And then also promoting collaboration. So the activity that has, been created due to this situation really hits on a couple of those goals. When we went into meeting last week, we were gung ho on, trying to tackle this. In response to the  bad decisions of some of our leaders a letter was crafted by Nichola and this letter really drove the points of why it is so important and how many people in our community, but in essence, in our state are affected by the lack of access to benefits. So again, the Children's Nutrition Program is a USDA program, and the typical program is Monday through Friday breakfast and lunch. And our school system implements that for us. And children are fed during the summer. Monday through Friday breakfast and lunch. So we do have that, but I don't know about you. But if I go without a meal,  you're not going to want to be around me. And if I have to go the entire weekend. That's very difficult. And that is what our families are dealing with. The summer E. B. T. Would allow 40 per child, her family a month for the summer months. And the USDA was offering to pay for the benefits as well as half of the administrative costs. So Louisiana would only have to cover half of the administrative costs, which was about 3. 5 million. So in Louisiana, some of the statistics of hunger were Reported by a report that CPEX had done just a couple of years ago, and it found that 21 percent of Louisiana households are food insecure in Baton Rouge food insecurity has increased by 35 percent in the last couple of years, the majority of which is in North Baton Rouge. In EBR, over 63 percent of the students are eligible for free meals, and because it is such a large percentage, our entire school district receives free meals. So the summer EBT reduces food insecurity, it bridges the gap. of the summer meals, and it provides the benefits to purchase food for the children, throughout the summer. The summer EBT is in addition to what families may qualify for under the standard EBT benefits. And also, in Louisiana, there's 240, 000 children that are identified as being food insecure. So the summer EBT would allow those families to know where they would be able to find benefit to help in feeding the children throughout the summer. So it really does impact a large percent of our population, the most important being our children. If I can, I will pass it on to Nichola to help explain. Since we have created this situation by our fearless leaders saying no to summer EBT, What has been created in order to help families and help to ensure our Children have been our will have access to food. Nichola, you want to continue on?

Nichola Hall: Yes. Thank you. You know what? If you were playing ball, you would definitely be on my team because you know how to pass  the ball so I could dunk it. Okay, so I appreciate that. All right. So what we've done thus far It's to form a collaborative network, right? So One Rouge Cafe already have its energy or synergy of individuals who want to just stomp the yard and make some big differences. However, we went beyond One Rouge Cafe and EBR. We included the mayor's office a part of this collaborative effort. So what will happen. And I say because I'm being very intentional about the word it we will have a school meals, summer meals for kids Monday through Friday and potentially on Saturday even Sunday, if I'm able to do it so there's summer school happening, kids attend summer schools and we're able to do it. If the state says, okay, then we are in alignment with that and we're able to move forward. The other thing that we have worked on.  We need help with in addition to the work that we've been doing is to spread the word out, right? Because there's a lot of organizations that exist in Baton Rouge that just not aware of what we've been doing, right? So for the last few years, we have expanded our outreach. through Child Nutrition to get other organizations involved in feeding their kids. If they have a summer youth program, 18 years or below and it has some enrichment programs or activities tied to it, please share, and we'll drop the link in the chat for the application form so folks could sign up for it. The cool thing about this program. It costs nothing to the organization. Literally, it is a cost savings for our other side of the people on the island to focus on money and Impact and finances, et cetera. This is a cool way to be able to bridge the gap to feed more kids and it doesn't cost any additional dollars to organizations. So we want to be able to build that out and reach out to as many people as possible. The other. thought that's happening right now. Once we're able to identify these organizations, get them enrolled and vetted and approved through the state and through Department of Health the mayor's office, this is where they come in. So we tee them up for the next steps where they will be building out a mapping system where anyone could go online, plug in your zip code and identify areas where a child could pick up a meal. From EBR sites or from a community sites, et cetera, we're looking to go big and go better. What does that mean for a person like me with my personality? So we don't want to be rolling through with mobile units in community organizations like housing complexes wherever there are kids.  We need to be able to, definitely provide the much needed resources for them. In addition to that part of the gap that we need to cover right now or close that gap, the adults, right? So going back to one Rouge cafes, one of the, one of the goal that stood out to me the most is making sure that everyone has access. Access to three healthy meals per day, right? So my goal or my role as in the nutrition world of EBR kids centered, but onerouge cafe is everybody and their mama, right? So I want to make sure that everyone has access to three healthy meals per day. So we need help with collaborating with local organization, food pantries, restaurants, etc. who we know are out here doing this work. But we just don't know who they are. So if you know who those people are, our locations directors managers, et cetera, we need to gain access to them. We need to be able to touch faces with them and create a collaborative space with them. So once again, two spaces, one, a K through 12 world for kids. Second, all families and we were able to bridge the gap for kids Monday through Friday, potentially Saturday or Sunday. We also got another group of folks will be on, manage or on taking underserved. So we need to be able to bridge the gap there. So if you know of anyone, any organizations who would be able to collaborate with us, and all of this, those two big buckets, yeah. We'll be all one center with the mayor's office to create a one, one central information space where we could to go a map. There you go. Thank you that we could go and get the information. So it is a big heavy lift, but we got a lot of people. Shout out to One Rouge Cafe, but specifically like Tia and Jan and Helena. And don't forget the awesome Pepper over there. So it was really cool to collaborate and get this thing done, but we need more help to be able to facilitate this as much as possible. So with that being said, and see,

Helena:  Prime window, because summer is, even though we're just entering spring, summer is like tomorrow. So we need to the application end date is April. Is that right?  

Nichola: Yes. So for us to be able to get the organizations vetted and approved by the state and Department of Health, we need them to fill this out or complete the application by the 1st, April 1st, because we have to do this big compile and organize and all that good stuff.So April 1st.

Helena: And I did put it in the chat. And even though April 1st is the deadline, don't wait to do it. It's much better to do it as soon as you can, as soon as you know what your summer plans look like.  

Nichola: And I just want to throw one more plug in there, we will be having webinars. Every other Friday to keep the I'm sorry every other Thursday for community organization so we could bridge the communication gap because we want to make sure there are no artificial barriers that exist. That's going to stop a community organization from registering with our program. So stay tuned for that. But once again, share the word. We want to do as much as we can for kids and also adults with that being said, thanks. 

Pepper: All right. Thank you all so much. CAFE is leading the charge and doing amazing things. Thank you, Manny, for reminding us that it's over. Today is March the 1st and April 1 is four weeks away. So please if you're going to wait till anything, do it on the Ides of March, only because it's fun to say. Anywho Next, we have a transportation and a mobility. Cheri is off mute already. All right, ma'am go ahead. Your five minutes starts now. 

Cheri Soileau: Thanks. We have a lot going on. And I have to say, as Emily was talking about their fabulous event coming up, we were chatting and I've already sent an email to HR because we are hiring. So if you need people, we have jobs. We have all sorts of jobs. Come talk, come work for CATS. We are not the old CATS. We are the new CATS. So we can find a job for you guys, work at a fabulous organization, But the transportational mobility, we're looking at transportation all of it, active transportation, streets and bicycles and pedestrians and how everything fits together and to the cafe folks and the nutrition program, I'm going to put a plug in on our micro transit  links by cats up in Baker. Starting in April, Lynx will be serving the YWCA there's a farmer's market, Breda has a farmer's market up there, and ExxonMobil will be serving that once a week, so the folks in Baker can have access to that farmer's market, because they take SNAP and a variety of subsidized things from the government. So they'll get access to food. That's what transit can do. That's what transportation can do. When we all work together and we start having these conversations. We're just not a bus company. We're just not walking and making sure people can walk safely.  People riding bicycles. Did you guys know that in these areas like North Baton Rouge or these poor rural areas, people getting hurt or killed who are right? Bicycles are much higher than in other areas. So let's think about across the board how we can improve the safety. Of our residents of all people. Let's give people that dignity and that help that we need whether they walk whether they drive whether they take a bus whether they ride a bicycle or if they want to ride, Whatever they want to ride. So but we want to bring  It's more advocacy and bring people together. I know there's about five other groups talking about transportation and I think We all need to come together and stop the silo ism. And part of my frustration is I hear people, they'll talk say about transit, they're not inviting us to the table I'm like, Okay,  that's okay. That's fine, but are here people. Talk about D. O. T. D. and get aggravated with D. O. T. D. We're having open conversations with D. O. T. D. We have a D. O. T. D. is not our enemy. They're they're not. But we all have to understand how things are done. And bring it together and  identify those projects that we can collaborate together and centering the mobility of all community members. And that's thank you. Pepper identify, engage around opportunity projects. What's going on? Where you have a project going on in Thank you. North Baton Rouge and Gardere in certain areas, and we're also including housing. Housing is very important as well for people to get around. We're going to, we're collecting data to take to the city parish about, hey, hide sidewalks. It's not just it's just not one type of transportation. So we need people to come together, not just feel that they can. I want to say gripe. It's coming together and having those honest conversations,  pulling the right people together and decide what we want to do as a coalition. What can we do to share the data and then make a game plan, make a plan of  what is a priority. And how we can do it. Do we need to go to the legislature? I happen to know that  our interim CEO, along with two other CEOs of transits going to the state and in the legislature to talk about important of transit. Here's an opportunity you guys. Let's come together. And talk about everything, sidewalks, don't dismiss cars. We can't be an anti car advocacy because you're going to just alienate people. It's bringing everybody together and recognizing we're all just trying to get to one place or the other. Accessible, incorporate those alternative modes, share the data, infrastructure. I know it's not sexy, it's like sidewalks. Sidewalks boring streets, boring.  If we don't have good sidewalks or streets, we can't improve our position. We can't get those businesses to our cities. You can't get to any place. So it's it's a lot of things and we need raising the awareness. We need those collaborations. We need  people to understand. We want to work together. On all types of transportation  to have a plan of pepper. Okay. Got it. That's it. There's a lot more. The CATS is busy. We're all busy. So we've got a lot of good stuff happening.  

Pepper: Thank you, Cheri. So I will disagree. I still say that sidewalks are sexy because getting run over. Is not as an FYI. And yeah. So thank you, Cheri for the report. I do appreciate it. Raymond couldn't be here this morning, but I do want to circle back to the the goals around transportation mobility. The objective really was to shift the, focus or the gaze from the actual mode from the mode of transportation to those who are actually being transported, which is why the goals are advocacy and collaboration and to  expand on public engagement. So I've dropped all that,  all of the missions, all of the goals into the chat so that as we are having these conversations, y'all can.  Figure out what it is that really does resonate with you anywhere from raising awareness on the work that's currently being done to advocating for those who just need to get from plant from place A to place B. I do echo Cheri's sentiment that we are just trying to get from one place to another and last in the week, Oh, meetings. I rather enjoy that the week. Oh, meetings as leadership and our shepherd for the leadership group, the leadership team  is Sherreta. And I want to hear from bestie about a vision as we move forward. And then Adonica, if you wouldn't mind chiming in from the leadership team with what it is that you see and how it is that you see us going, I'd appreciate it.  

Sherreta Harrison: Thank you, Pepper. Good morning, everyone, on this lovely but rainy first day of Women's History Month. How y'all doing? And I'm gonna steal a point of personal privilege and say as we Thank you. Celebrate women this month. Let's not enter into the voting booth and vote against them later in the year. Happy women's history month. So with that said, the Leadership Council if you have been following along with us on these report outs, you know that the Leadership Council has been primarily concerned with bringing our aspiration conversation. To life with a specific focus. So for those of you who do not remember the aspiration for One Rouge, all of the coalitions is an inclusive community. I'm sorry, an inclusive community culture in our city that leads to equitable opportunities for all. And so the coalitions are really focusing on The equitable opportunities and thinking through how to remove those barriers for the specific coalitions. The leadership council wanted to focus on building that inclusive community culture so that we are not addressing these very same issues 10 years from now. And so within One Rouge very well aware. And concerned with balancing the tension between meeting those urgent needs and being responsive to what the community is experiencing present day, but also being proactive and  addressing some of these systemic issues and shifting those conditions that will hold. Those issues in place. And so the leadership council decided that they would focus their efforts on three core tactics. These are going to sound familiar if you've been playing along with us. So informed leadership so that people who are making decisions and driving decisions are aware of the nine drivers of poverty and how they affect our city and our state and our country. And what they can do to disrupt them. Then there is maximizing assets through resource development. And like many of you, there are people who are already focused on these issues. How do we help support and amplify and maximize? That impact, but also how do we identify and fill in the gaps so that burden is not just on the few of us that are on this call or the few of us that are in the communities that are working on the nine drivers. And then lastly, capitalizing our future. And so the idea here is that we are not, while we all might be  very I like to call us kumbaya, for some of you it may be tree huggers or pie in the sky or whatever, and we probably would do this if we didn't have money, but the reality is we need money to do this. And so the third tactic for the Leadership Council is about capitalizing the work, right? And Looking at where money already exists for the nine drivers of poverty, but also coming into a more coordinated and balanced approach so that the dollars that we do have are used appropriately and effectively, but that we can also begin to identify additional money so that we could be Not literally, but figuratively make it rain in the one Rouge coalition. And so those are our three tactics, right? Inspiring, informed leadership, maximizing access to resource development, and then capitalizing our future. So what we did in the leadership council is we spent as Adonica said, we spent a lot of time laying the foundation for the work that we're going to do. We ended the year with formalized objectives outcomes so that we can measure our progress. And we ended the year with commitments from members of the Leadership Council for task teams around two areas, two priority areas. The first one is to ensure that the public has a shared understanding of non drivers of poverty. And we so that people are aware of not only the non drivers, but what you all on this call are doing to interrupt those drivers. And then the second priority action is around coming up  with a more coordinated approach for funding for the nine drivers of the poverty. What is, Now needed right are people to support and populate these these task teams, right? So again, priority actions are this public awareness campaign so that people understand the nine drivers. And how to interrupt them and then focusing on this coordinated and balanced approach to funding to impact the nine drivers,  there are plans being laid out in terms of how we're going to roll that out. For instance the first one of the first things that the. Capitalizing our future task team wants to do is develop a group of people who are already paying attention to and tracking the dollars and people who have opinions on how the dollars should be spent and people who know where the money is needed.

And so if you fit one of those criteria. I would encourage you to email me, email Casey, email Pepper, email Alfredo, who is leading that task team, email anybody and say, how can I make this happen? That's the first priority action. But if you are not necessarily into tracking the money and the money side, and you really are more of the educate and advocate person, then we have. Space on our task team around the public awareness campaign and how we can begin to push out why the nine drivers of poverty are so important and how they show up in a variety of areas and what people need to do to interrupt them. And I will end with this. So you heard the cafe folks talk about the summer feeding and how we galvanized around that, right? Ideally,  if the work that we're doing at the Leadership Council is successful, we won't be having that conversation again. We would have made sure that those people who are making decisions really understand why hunger and food insecurity is a problem for our state. Notice not just our children, it's a problem for our state. We would have had them informed. We would have also had the public informed, and so they can use some of their public power and public will to influence that. And then we would have, we would make a decision that is in the best interest of all our state. This is not me picking one or the other. This is me saying that if we were informed about the nine drivers of poverty, we would make decisions that are in the best interest of our state, whatever those may be. And so please you don't have to be on the leadership team council to be on one of our task teams, although in the next quarter, I'm going to be asking some of y'all to be on the leadership council. So I'll take questions if that's a thing. Pepper, other than that, y'all have a good Friday. 

Pepper: We'll take  questions after Adonica shares, No, listen, I feel like after Sherreta.

Adonica: I can just sit here quietly, but I will just say to put a plug in for Sherreta to help her out, which I know she very rarely needs my help in terms of recruiting more folks to the Leadership Council. I do think it is important that you have this connective tissue between the coalitions. And, we know that these issues, none of these issues happen in isolation, right? Transportation impacts food impacts education. All of these things are connected. And if you are a person who wants to be thinking about the intersections of these things, we definitely need those people at the table for leadership council. So that's it.  

Casey: And with the leadership council, I just wanted to also recognize Katie Pritchett, Dean Donald Andrews, and Reverend Anderson that are sharing. And I just wanted to make sure and lift up their names and Reverend Anderson, unfortunately, couldn't participate in the last leadership council meeting because of the incredibly deep and dynamic event that she had going on across the hall, which will give her a little space later on to speak on. So thank you all for your service. 

Pepper: Don't give Reverend Anderson any space. She, I'd never seen her so giddy with,  and for those of you who don't know, oh, thank you. For those of you who don't know, the prison reform initiatives that Reverend Anderson works with. The there was a day long event where they were talking where she had some really incredible speakers come and talk about presents prison reforms, why it's necessary. And no matter what it is that you believe about incarceration, there is a lack of humanity which. Is a different conversation for a different day, but I might think about letting Reverend Anderson talk after we have some questions and answers. So Sherreta was jumping, Bestie was jumping in and saying that she would take some questions about how it is that you might be able to lend your shoulder as we put it to the grind. Ha. Okay, fine. That wasn't funny anyway. If y'all have any questions about when the meetings are, how it is that you can sign up. I saw in the chat that Helena has already dropped in how it is that you can  become part of one of the coalitions. You can become part of all the coalitions if you wish, mainly because One Rouge is really centered around this concept of systems change, meaning that by changing a system if you work together in concert with folks who are in other areas and the chances are real good that we will actually be able to make things easier and better and make them right for a whole lot of folks. Good. We also have  Manny. Yes, that link does work. Oh, very good. If you happen to need some data, there is an intake open for capstone projects. So the link has already been dropped in the chat in case you need a capstone person, or and to shift gears ever so slightly back to the coalitions. Next step will be housing. And for those of you who are interested in, I don't know. People being able to sleep inside. It's one of my favorite things to do. I would suggest that you follow along as Sherreta has also suggested and continue to play our game at home. The Reverend Anderson, speaking of people sleeping inside your  housing initiatives for those who are unhoused, would you like to come off mute and share some, share about those?

Reverend Anderson:  Are you talking to me, Pepper?  Yes, I am.  And let me just say, I have a button that says Data Nerd. Let me just start with that. Good morning, everybody. Pepper and Casey were wonderful and joined us on last Friday for If You're a Data Nerd as I am, was like dying and going to heaven.  And is that what you were asking me about? I hope because what we had was a symposium that talked about using data as an opportunity.  To identify transformative  policies and changes in East Baton Rouge Parish, and we had some of the most phenomenal, not just speakers because they were a world class the amazing Professor Andrea Armstrong, who was a 2023 MacArthur genius. We had Jean Park with the Innocence Project in New Orleans. We had Breonna Perkins with Capital Area United Way. We had the Louisiana Housing Corporation. We just had all of these wonderful excellent people, but they brought data sets with them. And the point to the data sets was, nothing lives in a silo. And so if you don't understand how the Alice population Is intersected by why Children die in East Baton Rouge. And we had that presentation. Then you also miss why what happened in the Legislature  is going to devastate the state because we have the data to show some things. Housing issues in particular  was probably one of the areas where and I'm going to say it in all sincerity because I've been in this work for a long time. We think of housing almost in these two sectors, which is renters and owners. That's not what housing is. Housing is the foundation for all other things. And we know that those of us who ascribe to the housing first policies know that, but what was so interesting about these different data sets, including comments, which some of you may know is the East Baton Rouge district attorneys data set is that when people are unstable in their housing, unsheltered in their housing Tethered to resources, whether it is the internet, whether it is food, whether it is utilities, they are going to fall into other pots and it is going to be almost impossible to get them out of them. And so I just want to say very quickly one.  I was so beyond grateful and everybody says I was giddy. I was giddy because data in context tells. A story.  It doesn't tell the story you want to hear. It tells the story and one of the stories, and I just want to leave with this one moment because it took me away. We had a luncheon special, a luncheon speaker named Tom Aswell. And Tom Aswell is a noted journalist. He is a book author, but Tom Aswell will have a book coming out called Wrongful Convictions. And in that book, he talks about. How many of the people who were wrongfully convicted, and these are people that the evidence proved that they were wrongfully convicted, were also on death row?

In that room was G Park, who runs the Innocence Project. In that room was Andrea Armstrong,  who created the Incarceration Transparency Project so that we could know who was dying in custody. When we are not siloed, there is room for the story. And that was what I took away. And the other thing I want to say, we had a bunch of Children from all over the state. I make it a point never to do anything. I think it's forward leaning without making sure the babies are in the room. And I want to thank everybody who went. We're going to try to post as much of the data sets as possible. So bear with us and give us a little time to get that done. We're going to try to post Professor Armstrong's presentation. Data in context always matters. And like I said, for me,  it was this particular symposium took over a year and a half to put together because there were people we wanted to be there and we were willing to wait for them. And I was beyond grateful, but I am going to tell you that until we start overlaying, we're not going to know the state of affairs. It's not enough to talk about transportation in a silo. It's not enough to talk about any of these things in a silo. We talk about the Alice population. Everybody knows the Alice population, but by next year, everybody's going to also know what the Isaac population is and why that matters so much to this state. Thank you, Pepper. Thank you, Casey. 

Pepper: Hold on. Who's Alice?  

Reverend Anderson: Alice is the asset oh Lord, we've got a United Way person on there who can say that faster than me. Go ahead.

Sherreta: Assets limited, income constrained, employed. So people who work but have few assets and their income is limited. They are above the poverty line, but below what is needed to have a life to meet their basic needs. I shouldn't say have a life, meet their basic needs in Baton Rouge. 

Reverend Anderson: Thank you, Katie, for putting that in there. I appreciate it so much. And I will say one of the things that, we will all find out soon is that. We are all tethered together. One of the statistics I shared over and over again was there are over 250,000 people in Louisiana who drive on suspended driver's licenses. If you wonder why we cannot get our insurance rates under control,  the fact that statistic exists Is a huge one. And it is that kind of data where you start talking about. Why do we have that? And one of the presenters pointed out because we don't teach driver education at all.  And part of driver education isn't just driving a car. It's knowing the laws. And the other data point that she pointed out was how many people can be arrested for non driving violations  and go to jail for non driving violations. And so there's just such great connectors and data. Can I just say I'm getting giddy all over again, Sherreta. 

Pepper: I noticed. I have to cut you off. It's just yeah I am going to say as a non practicing attorney in the state of Louisiana, that the insurance rates have not everything to do with the fact that people are driving on suspended licenses so much as it has to do with our litigious practices. As long as we have folks who are trying out there trying to catch case, we will likely have high drivers at that. And, folks who  complain bitterly about their cars being broken into. Meanwhile, they're parking in places they should not be different conversations, but we'll talk about this later anyway. Thank y'all so much for being here. Are there, do we have any questions about the coalitions? Thank you, Sherreta, for lifting up some of the things that the Leadership Council is doing and making yourself a resource. I am in full support of putting together a reading list, a book club, as it were. We can talk, I don't know, the fifth Monday of the Friday, the fifth Friday about the interesting things that are going on and how those all, and whilst you're reading things as an FYI, La Ledge is starting on March 11. There are lots of builds that you should probably check out if have a little bit of time. Anywho,  going once, going twice.  Speaking of going places, would it, how to kill a city? You're a right ray of sunshine. Thank you, Manny's hair. Speaking of going places, what's going on this weekend in Baton Rouge, y'all? Thank you, Manny's hair. I appreciate the intimate city. It feels cozy.  

Sherreta: I'm dropping in some information. I have to find it about there's a scan summit tomorrow. So Save the Children Action Network tomorrow. Manny doing a lot. Yeah. So the All right, Tia, were you going to talk about SCAN? 

Tia Fields: Yeah they will be at the state capitol from 9:30 a. m. to three o'clock advocating for children's rights. If you have any questions you can contact Crystal Ellis or myself. Yeah.  

Pepper: Thank you, ladies. Morgan.  

Morgan Udoh: Good morning, all. We have an awesome Sow Good Saturday event coming up this Saturday at the farm at BREC Howell Community Park. There's going to be an ornamental tree giveaway and all levels yoga class. American Heart Association is going to lead a farm fresh cooking demo with a taste test. I love to eat, so I'll be excited about that. And we will also have an artist. Sky Eerie who will be working with the volunteers to create some reclaimed paint material signage for Batten Roots that is sculptural. It's a beautiful art installation, it's going to be absolutely gorgeous. And it's just another way that our art program practices sustainability by making sure that every material we can't reuse gets transformed into something new. So come on out 10 a. m. to 12 p. m. tomorrow. Sorry. Yes, tomorrow, because today's Friday. And we'll share space together. 

Pepper: I totally want a tree. Marcella?  

Marcella Hernandez: Good morning. Good morning, everyone. So we, I'm super excited because we're about to kick off our Red Stick Unification call. So this is going to be soccer. For those who like common and playing soccer, please come and join us today. We are going to have the draw event. It's going to be at five 30 here at our office, at the family and youth service center. We're going to be having a room and two different console mans. We're going to have rowdy and also console men done. And they're going to be drawing.  Hopefully the winning team. So if you are into soccer, and if you like soccer, we want to invite you to come, we're going to have 16 participant countries and you're going to be able to come and hear about the schedule, the matchups and all of the different things about soccer. So have fun, come and enjoy and support us today. 5 30. Thank you. 

Pepper: Lindi. 

Lindi Rubin Spalatin: Morning, y'all. I'm glad to be back. There is the Women's Wellness Day event tomorrow at Pennington Biomedical open to the public from 8 until 1. There'll be health screenings, seminars, walks around the lake, every all the Talkbacks will be available in our YouTube channel if anyone can't make it. But if you could share with your network the health screenings are a great resource. They're free. And let's make sure that women are taking their health seriously this month. Thanks.  

Pepper: Thank you, ma'am and Reverend Anderson. 

Reverend Anderson: Good morning again. On Saturday, March the ninth will be the Louisiana Minister Menstrual Equity Forum at the Greenwell Springs Library. Really important, from 8 32 2:00 PM and on Sunday, March the third at 3:00 PM one of the most brilliant and impactful legal minds in the world. The amazing Professor Angela Allen Bell will be here in Baton Rouge at the Scotlandville Branch Library doing a presentation on incarcerating the speech expressions and messages of black women. An overlooked obstacle in the campaign to dismantle the carceral state. And if you have never, ever heard or met. Professor Alan Bell beyond being a treat. I seriously mean this is one of the most brilliant legal minds in the world. And then last but not least, and I am super honored to say this on Tuesday, March, the fifth, the 19th JDC first appearance Family Support Center. We'll host its second anniversary celebration.  We are at the library every Tuesday, as long as the court and the library is open to be a good neighbor to our friends, families that may have some questions or issues in the around the courts, around things that are happening, tickets, that kind of thing. And so  we were born out of the collective is better than one. And so the  center does not own anybody's name,  but the partnership with our amazing library system is beyond anything I can speak to. And so at 11 o'clock, if you get a chance, please join us at the river center library to 50 North Boulevard, as we celebrate  the second year of being a good neighbor and changing the game. We're going to have an honoring of some of the people who were instrumental in doing this. But we're also going to reveal some things that have happened since the beginning to date. And I think the community will be rather surprised what happens when a few people just decide they can be a good neighbor. So wanted to invite everybody that's at 11 o'clock on Tuesday, March 5th.

Pepper: Thank you much, Nichola. 

Nichola: Hi, everyone. I just want to send a reminder and I will forward the email to you pepper  to share out to the public or to the general folks that are here.  Every first Saturday of the month we do a recruitment event at Southern Cafe. That's on. That's in Scotlandville. So we try to be intentional about filling vacancies, teacher vacancies, bus operators, child nutrition on that side of town. It's so hard to find talent and retain talent on that side of town. So the focus is to build out in that community. So if you know of anyone who's looking for a job who live in that space please share my contact information with them, or please encourage them to show up next week, next Saturday from nine, I'm sorry, 10am to 1pm at Southern Cafe, we will help them with their application process from start to finish, provide technical supports, etc. They could literally walk away from there with a intent to hire. So we're we're pending a background check, of course, but this is an awesome way that we're reaching the folks at the community level to keep the folks on that side of town to make sure that the kids on that side of town consistently have teachers and educators in classrooms and spaces to continuously to service them. So with that being said, thank you and have a great weekend. 

Pepper: Also in the chat, Cheri has dropped that there is going to be a listening session on Tuesday, March the 19th at the CATS terminal to talk transit. Thank you, Manny's hair for all of your data links. We appreciate them when they're here. And for those of you who have been asked to share your information like Nichola, if you wouldn't mind dropping your email in the chat and Marcella has asked for a flyer for the women's events and that should about do it for the day. Casey, you got any last words? 

Casey: Word. No always have a last word. I found it interesting that the languaging that was lifted up around the summer EBT program around the Sarcasm Around Fearless Leadership I just wanted to go on record to say that I think that the Louisiana legislative and our potentially, if it gets signed with our governor or potentially doing the dumbest thing that I've ever seen in in Louisiana politics in quite some time. And I feel like that's a pretty heavy statement for non permit or trained training needed for concealed weapons. I really cannot, I just cannot possibly find where the logic. In saying that you're supporting law enforcement and safe communities.  But doing that,  it absolutely is incongruent on so many different levels. And if I can lift up a sarcastic thank you so much for making our city so much more unsafe  in our state. So I said, I'll say it pisses me off. And I feel powerless in this moment. But as our friend, Kina said last week.  Hopelessness is not a luxury that any of us have. So rest up this weekend, get back in the fight on Monday. And as I said, and hopefully through the legislative process, we can maybe reverse some of the wrongs that just went through, but it'll take some time. So thank you all for everything that you do. I see you and if you are struggling. If you are struggling to keep the gas in the tank and keep fighting the fight, my line is always open to you all to give a call and to listen in support. Appreciate all of you. 

Pepper: I'm so glad we have this time together. And yes, so the answer to your question, or your rhetorical question, Casey, is really around citizens being, for putting that in the chat, Sherreta. Citizens being able to defend themselves. We are very serious about the lone do gooder who can fend off a bad doer or ne'er do well, I do love that word who can fend off a ne'er do well in case he's attacking good, wholesome citizens in the state of Louisiana. Being if your ne'er do well doesn't know that you've got a gun and that you can shoot back. Then, and I only smile because it makes me think of how most people have never been in a shootout and don't know what it means. Myself included. I cannot begin to imagine somebody starts shooting and the first thing I think is, oh, I'm going to shoot back. As opposed to, I need to hide. With that said,  peace, love, and harmony. Have a great weekend. Duck and cover. We will see y'all back here next Friday. Same bat time, same bat channel. 



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