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Monday Minute with Tara Felicia Jones

March 25, 2024 Category: Q&A

What can businesses and corporations  be doing to improve the health and wellness of the community?

“They could be doing a little more than their small programing that allows them to have photograph opportunities and actually commit to do some work in those communities where they are. Around here, we have you know, the incinerators and, you know, all these other big businesses and they really don’t give back at all. And what they could do is whatever they are specializing in, they could maybe train folks to, you know, have jobs and not just jobs, careers.

And, you know, they can help out that way. They could help by donating to local nonprofits that are doing great work there. And they could give out, I don’t know, stipends or anything for somebody to come and get trained there, because a lot of times folks want to train, they just can’t afford it. So maybe they could help out that way.

I know some of them give out small scholarships to students that are going to college, but none of them are sustainable. So I think there’s so much more that they could do. So if we want to talk specifically about one, if that’s okay, Covanta is one of them. I know that I have thought about a program where we talk about the environmental injustices, about that particular organization.

If you’re going to pollute the air, like give some kind of humidifier or some kind of, you know, something to help plant trees, you know, something to help the environment a little bit better. So there’s all kinds of issues and large corporations that surround Chester. So, you know, there’s so much more they all could be doing.”

 

How does the work you do improve the health of the community?

“I’m the founder of the Chester Cultural Arts and Technology Center. We basically design our programs around the community needs. But our focus again is on art and technology because we know that there’s not a lot of technology here.

We’re a technology desert, but we’re also a culture and arts desert. And what we are looking to do is feed the people and help them create their stories so that we can start a healing process within these different communities. So, you know, when we look at what’s happening, you know, what’s happening in Chester specifically. What’s happening is we are still having those experiences of oppression and then we’re getting blamed for how people are reacting to the systems in which they’re living.

From our Partners

So what we are looking to do is also just continue to build relationships, be a voice, create those positive narratives. And I developed a program called Families of Harambee, and it’s a seven week program for families that focus on the seven principles of Kwanzaa. So we’re looking for not just asking someone else to create programs and do things for us, but we are internalizing what the needs are and going after some solutions and not just sitting around complaining about it, but actually developing and designing programs to do that.”

What’s one piece of advice that you want leaders to take into the week?

 

“If you’re going to lead, listen to those that you want to lead” 

 

“ A lot of times leaders forget that their constituents can add to the greatness of whatever it is they’re doing… A lot of leaders forget about you having to be a good follower before you can be a great leader. So listen to your people.”

 

Tara Felicia Jones is President, CEO of  The Cultural Arts and Technology Center 

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