This Bay Area Nonprofit Is Removing A Liquor Store From The Hood And Replacing It With A STEM School

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Y’all remember that famous scene from Boyz n the Hood where Furious Styles explained the motivations behind building liquor stores in black communities and their significant negative effects on the black community?

That’s real life.

One nonprofit is looking to change that. Urban Ed Academy plans to transform a corner liquor store in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood into a STEM-based school at the beginning of 2018, Hoodline reports.

The idea actually came from the liquor store building’s owners, Chris and Cynthia Fleming.

“We would like to like to see the Bayview improve,” Chris Fleming said.

The Flemings have owned the building since 1997, and now that gentrification has taken over San Francisco, the duo believe the store “needs to be developed properly to place an organization that is family-friendly.”

With the help of District 11 Supervisor Malia Cohen, the Flemings approached Urban Ed Academy, a nonprofit that provides STEM education to young boys of color.

“We have worked hard to get something positive housed in this visible location,” Cohen said. “Urban Ed Academy is the perfect organization to inspire children and their families to the limitless possibilities that come with educational opportunities.”

Urban Ed’s primary goal is to bridge the STEM-related achievement gap for black boys. The nonprofit currently incorporates after-school and weekend programming at Bayview’s YMCA and Willie Brown Middle School. The new school will offer STEM-based programming five days a week.

“After introducing us to Urban Ed Academy, we are excited about increasing the tech culture and knowledge for youth in the community,” Chris Fleming said.

Sadly, there’s been a temporary roadblock in the Flemings’ plan.

The liquor store has yet to close due to complications with the initial eviction notice, which didn’t have a specific date. However, the store’s owner, Asad Joseph said that he will be decamping shortly to a nearby location where he will open a store offering fresh produce.

Fleming declined to comment on the eviction notice situation.

Regardless, this is only a delay, not a denial, according to Urban Ed Academy’s executive director Randall Seriguchi, Jr.

Seriguchi’s plan for the Urban Ed expansion extends to the teachers as well; he’s called the new building an opportunity to “curb outmigration and help build this neighborhood.” There are plans to incorporate a five-bedroom, two bathroom apartment on the top floor of the building, which will serve as a teacher dormitory.

“You can’t have a great community without a great school, and you can’t have a great school without a great teacher,” Seriguchi said.

“We are intentionally redefining the community in an radical way, and the only way we can do that is by becoming good Samaritans and investing in our teachers by giving them a comfortable place to live,” he continued. Seriguchi believes this type of plan will encourage similar models that will help to tackle San Francisco’s lack of affordable housing.

Despite the delay, Joseph is interested about what’s to come of the new school. “This is still a troubled area,” he noted. “However, the new facility is good for the community and will keep youth inspired and out of trouble.”

Article Via Blavity

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