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Hood Week hits Atlanta

Amity Paye AmNews Web Manager | 9/13/2012, 3:22 p.m.
Hood Week hits Atlanta

"Calling all 'hoods from all sides: the East Side, West Side, North Side and South Side!"

People from "the 'hood" across the country will descend upon Atlanta next weekend, July 20 to 22, for the first ever Hood Week. Sponsored by Occupy the Hood's Atlanta chapter, the event is meant to allow the group's national chapters to begin organizing together.

Occupy the Hood was started in September of 2011 in response to the lack of diversity its founders saw in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Early in its history, Occupy the Hood began working outside of the Occupy movement, expanding into the communities where its members live or grew up.

"Occupy the Hood is an autonomous national grassroots movement comprised of activists, organizers and community members working with likeminded individuals and organizations across the United States, standing in solidarity with any progressive organization or movement that desires and works towards the liberation, benefit and improvement of the quality of life of disenfranchised people of color," according to the group's website.

"Our chapters from all over the country are coming to Atlanta to promote peace and unity within our neighborhoods," said the Occupy the Hood donation page. Organizers say they are expecting representatives from the Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago Occupy the Hood chapters, among many others. There are over 15 chapters in the country, with one in almost every large city.

Atlanta quickly became a national Occupy the Hood leader when it started the Feed the Hood program last year, giving meals to over 500 homeless men and women. "The food drive is the No. 1 thing we're doing in the country right now," said Occupy the Hood founder Malik Rassan in November. "The Feed the Hood thing is something we're doing all together. If you're able to feed people and break bread with people, they're more likely to listen to you and tell you what they think."

These representatives, along with many in the Atlanta community, will be descending on Atlanta again for an entire weekend of events, most of which will continue the idea of breaking bread to start the conversation.

On Friday, Occupy the Hood is expanding its first national meet-and-greet dinner and party to include local Atlanta artists' work, poetry readings and a tattoo artist on the rooftop for anyone interested.

On Saturday, "Unity Day," Occupy the Hood will host a typical festival with vendors, entertainment and, of course, food, along with not-so-typical workshops on healthy cooking and eating, employment skills, an entrepreneurial workshop and community service options open to all communities of color in Atlanta.

"OCCUPY YOUR MIND! Grow something! Teach something! Occupy the Hood!" reads the group's Facebook page.

The weekend will finally conclude, in the spirit of summer, with a community barbecue, family reunion-style.