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News and updates from around the Ujima Ecosystem.

Scenes from 2024 Mattapan Neighborhood Assembly

Two weekends ago, April 26-28, we held our Mattapan Neighborhood Assembly Weekend: a space and time for Mattapan residents to build community and culture, and to shape their economic futures. 

We are grateful to have stewarded this weekend full of events; from rolling and running with folks at Chez Vous, to biking and bonding on nature tours through Mattapan’s beautiful green spaces, many laughs and smiles were shared. 

Political and financial education workshops pulled us toward a deeper understanding of what Ujima’s investment process looks like and how we hope to help support Mattapan determine its own small business ecosystem; from businesses needed to businesses we love, naming the landscape facilitates how we can democratically decide on what Mattapan looks like and feels like in years to come. Mattapan’s nominations of businesses that they love will directly inform our fund’s democratic investment process; it is critical to us that we facilitate neighborhood planning that is led by neighborhoods themselves. These nominations took place at Boston Public Library’s Mattapan Branch, and at the Urban Farming Institute—where we enjoyed snacks, spoke about gardening, and made t-shirts together (designed and pressed by artist and designer Tomo!). 

Guided visioning and meditation practices led by Dzidzor Azaglo set the stage for the day, and helped us carry agency forward with us as a reminder that we are doing for us, by us, building the worlds we want to live in. A stellar and sweet performance from local rap phenoms Ethereal Visions focused our attention on energy, brotherhood, and care—a youthful rap group that speaks beyond their years, EV is engaged in and committed to art that inspires self-determination and Black love.

We closed the weekend with two film screenings, held at Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary. Our feature film, Loving Men: Dismantling Patriarchy, documents a circle of masculine community members who are committed to building collective infrastructure and tools to challenge patriarchy; facilitated conversations throughout the screening brought us into intentional discourse about how we process and build relationships. A short animated film made by Lily Xie in partnership with Creative Wildfire spoke to the importance of lineages that inform us; Love Letters for Our Ancestors pulls photos from Boston residents’ personal and familial archives alongside voices from our staff and partners and brings them into dialogue to center our shared and individual histories as we work towards future development and planning in assembly with one another.   

Special thank yous and appreciation as always to our community partners: New England United 4 Justice, Urban Farming Institute, Mass Audubon, Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, and the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council. And most importantly, thank you to Mattapan’s community members for gracing us with your time and presence.  

Please enjoy the photos below to relive the experience!



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