The year 2020 has come with a political, social and economic climate that has taught us to learn, adapt and conquer. This is the mindset of the Detroit-based non-profit, Black 3utterfly Association, founded by Euphemia Wardlaw and Alyssia Brown in July 2019.
B3A’s mission is to liberate the minds, bodies and souls of the African American community. They create a space of acceptance and growth through a respect for education, a push for self-sufficiency via community service and the enforcement of healthy living habits to ensure a community that not only thrives but survives.
B3A is focused on creating a community that commits itself to unifying resources in order to create a constant progression of community relief. The organization has involved itself in this gumption through hands-on activities such as the 2020 community blanket drive, food drive and the 2020 First Annual Juneteenth celebration and rally, in collaboration with P.O.W.E.R. Detroit and B.A.M.N. Revolution —each based in the Detroit area.
The organization has also stood in support of community outcries of injustices, through acts of nonviolent protesting held in cities spanning from Detroit to its Metropolitan’s outskirts. These protests and rallies have been brought together by Detroit’s local leaders including WSU Black Student Union, P.O.W.E.R. Detroit, B.A.M.N. Revolution, Detroit Will Breathe and other WSU students and organizations.
With the many discrepancies in the span of a short time, B3A has displayed a needed aim towards resilience.
It is important to adapt in the midst of the BLM movement “simply because you have to,” B3A co-president Nia Imani Patterson said.
“Without adapting, we will not know how to survive it and how to handle the situations correctly,” Patterson said. “As we adapt, we become more aware, and to be aware is to know of the realities that Black people face. You can not easily brush it off and turn a blind eye anymore.”
The BLM movement has become magnified, she said. Adapting includes normalizing having discussions on the issues the community faces and keeping the conversation going instead of letting it die down.
“Adapting and learning during these moments are essential to our survival to help continue the change,” Patterson said.
B3A works with prominent organizations in the Detroit community in order to broaden the scope of assistance that they can offer —such as The Movement Street.
TMS, founded by Lyric Amodia and Morgan Phillips, is a Detroit-based environmentally conscious clothing brand that sells new-era streetwear for profit that goes 100% back into the community.
TMS has funded current community initiatives such as Flint Watershed Coalition, Black Millinelas 4 Flint and the Boys and Girls Club of The Greater Flint. This November, B3A is partnering with TMS to provide families with free thanksgiving dinners in Flint and Detroit.
In the coming year, B3A will be working with BSU and their president, Jeremiah Wheeler, to bring together a butterfly memorial in celebration of the many lives lost during the ongoing fight for freedom. At this event, B3A and BSU will be planting a tree and presenting a mural that represents the life that will come from the organizations’ combined efforts.
B3A posts its content on Instagram and Twitter – with information on how to connect with community organizations and initiatives, current opportunities to exercise activism, voter information and more. They can be contacted via direct message on social media or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Euphemia Wardlaw is cofounder of Black 3utterfly Association. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Cover photo, provided by Wardlaw, taken at the first annual Juneteenth Celebration and Rally at Hart Plaza in June 2020. Pictured left to right: Euphemia Wardlaw, Nia Patterson, Alyssia Brown and NaJiya Whitman.