Who is Bekah Fox? I’m just a small town girl… I am a doer, I get anxious if I’m still unless it’s a season of stillness. I have always been compelled to work with people or for people in whatever capacity that means in the moment… What does the Woodlawn Effect mean to you? A healthy community that exists from mixed income, synergy, community partnership, creating equity for new businesses, and ultimately people doing things. What do you love about Woodlawn? I live in East Avondale which is a Woodlawn community. One of the things that I love about Woodlawn is community –in every sense of the word. I would say that residents, business owners, community partners, service providers, and also friends of Woodlawn that’s part of our community. So even if I didn’t live in Woodlawn, I would still identify with it.
Author: Woodlawn United
Who is Jason Avery? I’m a simple guy that loves his neighborhood. I’ve lived in Woodlawn for 19 years and I’m committed to seeing it thrive. Professionally I work as the Director of International Trial on Carotid Stenting at UAB. I also partner with REV Birmingham which is an organization dedicated to restoring the vibrancy in the commercial corridor of Woodlawn. Lastly, I’m the Vice President for the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association. What does the Woodlawn Effect mean to you? It’s a perfect storm of every organization, resident and business joining together to make Woodlawn one of the most vibrant communities in Birmingham. We’re all on one accord to continue to make that goal a reality. What do you love about Woodlawn? I love the possibilities of Woodlawn. It’s one of the most vibrant and convenient neighborhoods in Birmingham. I’m literally one block from the business district where I can get everything I need without living my neighborhood.
Yesterday, Woodlawn welcomed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to the new Xpress bus rapid transit Eastern Terminal in Woodlawn. Joined by Mayor Woodfin and Congresswoman Sewell, Secretary Buttigieg recognized the progress being made in Woodlawn and the work still needed to better connect communities in our neighborhood, including Harris Homes. While here, Secretary Buttigieg announced the Reconnecting Communities program, which will grant $1 billion to reconnect communities that were racially segregated by transportation projects. As a community that has been historically disrupted by transportation projects, we are excited for the launch of the Xpress bus rapid transit system that better connects our community to the city. Thank you to community members who have attended discussions about public transportation in our neighborhood. We look forward to further partnership with the City of Birmingham, REV Birmingham and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority CEO Charlotte Shaw and her team as we endeavor to build transit-oriented development adjacent to the new bus rapid transit site. Learn more about Secretary Buttigieg’s announcement here.
Woodlawn United welcomed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator for the Southeast (Region 4) Jose A. Alvarez on Thursday, June 2, 2022. During his visit, Alvarez toured Woodlawn with Woodlawn United Executive Director Mashonda Taylor and Woodlawn United Real Estate Director Joe Ayers to see first-hand the revitalization work in the neighborhood. He also launched the Our Way Home campaign in the Southeast with a press conference and roundtable discussion at SocialVenture in Woodlawn. Dr. Meghan Venable-Thomas, Director of Community Development representing Mayor Woodfin, and Melinda Williams, District Director representing Congresswoman Sewell, as well as local elected officials and leaders from the nonprofit community, including Mashonda Taylor and Joe Ayers, joined the roundtable. Regional Administrator Alvarez held his Our Way Home launch event in Woodlawn to spotlight Woodlawn United’s affordable and mixed-income housing developments. He highlighted The Park at Wood Station, a townhouse-style development comprised of 64 homes designed to fill the need for high-quality, affordable housing in the Woodlawn community, and The Cottages at Wood Station, twelve single-family market-rate homes designed after bungalows that are original to the area and developed in partnership with ARC Realty, Design Initiative, and Drake Homes. Our Way Home is a new initiative created by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. The campaign uplifts the unique housing supply successes in local communities and connects cities, counties, Tribal communities, states, and U.S. Territories to the tools and resources needed to help preserve and produce affordable housing in their area. Read more about Our Way Home: https://www.hud.gov/ourwayhome.
In October 2021, a cohort of 9 fellows began their leadership development journey in Woodlawn United’s Woodlawn Effect Fellowship Program with the desire to improve the community and give voice to traditionally underrepresented community members. After participating in 14 weeks of sessions centered around developing skills such as effective communication and team-building and learning subject matter including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Economic Development, the fellows celebrated their commencement with friends and family at SocialVenture on May 11th, 2022. The evening was a powerful testament to the Fellows’ growth as leaders and their tremendous passion for the community. (WE) Lead, funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, was developed to address the Woodlawn Community’s gap in access to leadership development opportunities. The fellows’ time in (WE) Lead refined and developed the leadership skills they already possessed and challenged them to step outside their comfort zones. Fellows are not only prepared to assess, identify, and solve problems in the community now; they have already begun developing their plans. As a part of the closing ceremony, each Fellow presented a project that will solve a problem and positively impact the community. Projects included ideas from an outdoor classroom for i3 Academy to new nonprofits that reduce youth violence and help former inmates re-enter society. Special guests J.T. Moore, Councilor, Birmingham City Council, District 4, and Derrick Billups, Board Member, Birmingham City Schools, District 4, joined a leadership panel moderated by (WE) Lead Program Coordinator Myeisha Hutchinson. The panel shared about leaders they admire and their leadership journeys and reminded (WE) Lead Fellows that leadership comes with the responsibility of influence. To close out the evening, Woodlawn United Director of Community Engagement Jason Meadows charged the graduating class to continually challenge themselves to be better, to listen to people and problems, to find a team, and be a voice to the voiceless. Congratulations to the inaugural class of (WE) Lead Fellows: Aimee Castro, Leah Davis, Brenda Holifield, Lamartra January, Valencia King, Timothy Lanier, Sylvia Mooney, Samantha Nelms, and Eric Perry!