founder and president of Stimulate America Inc.;
and creator and festival director for the Historic Westside Village Festival
How did you come up with the festival idea?
When I drive around Vine City and the Westside, adjoining communities in the city of Atlanta, I see more than streets and businesses, I see memories and history that make me who I am. My great grandparents, Alonzo and Cora Freeman, came to the Vine City neighborhood in 1932 from Athens, Ga., to raise my grandmother, great aunts and uncles and to help start the Simpson Street Church of Christ. It was very important to my mother that I understood the rich achievements of my community that have had an international bearing on black people. I would beg my mother as often as I could to drive me past the Alonzo Herndon mansion because it was the biggest house in my neighborhood. Through my mother’s teachings, I knew it was built by a black businessman who was a former slave and became the first black millionaire in Atlanta. This was amazing to me after being a child and watching “Roots” on network television. On Sunset [Avenue], one street over from our house, was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home; Julian Bond’s house was just a few doors down. Seeing these legacies, daily, influenced me and were tangible examples of attainment that were real to me. It taught me that I too could apply myself and become just as successful because these were my neighbors. I mention some of the more well known contributors but through further research a pattern is uncovered of many black proprietors who started their businesses in the area or came from or were educated in the Vine City, English Avenue, Ashview Heights and Hunter Hills neighborhoods and all have made a strong economic impact on local and national commerce. I believed this history should be celebrated through a festival that would recognize and commemorate the strength of this great heritage, bring the community together and invite others to partake in our community. We could also use this platform to accomplish the mission of our non-profit Stimulate America INC — to help combat the distress of the economic emergency by distributing free resources to address some of the top concerns affecting the people. It was simply an idea, a mission from God that has manifested into a reality. We were joined by Antioch Urban Ministries, People United Foundation and Greater Vine City Opportunities Program, three other nonprofit organizations with the same goals and are actively distributing resources to citizens from all over the state of Georgia.
5 Benefits to the Community
- Today, this history is not being taught enough to our young people. The Festival will educate them on the positive features of their surroundings and influence them to take pride in where they are from and they too can become just as great because they are our future. We are simply links and each generation adds to the chain of this history.
- The Historic Westside Village Festival is free for everyone to attend and it is the ultimate recycling mechanism for our dollars. The businesses who participate in the festival would be stimulated by attendees who patronize them at the HWVFestival and all the proceeds go to the four non-profits that distribute free resources back to the people. It’s a win win for everyone.
- The Historic Westside Village Festival is a safe environment catering to every age group. The festival has free parking and Marta buses drop off on the festival grounds. The HWVFestival features a Kids Zone, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Inspirational Speakers, a large variety of Food, Merchandise and 6 free informational Seminars supporting entrepreneurial, home buying, home selling and foreclosure prevention concerns, finance restoration, credit building and finally job seeking concerns. Everyone can take something away from the HWVFestival and will leave empowered.
- The HWVFestival is a perfect Welcome to Atlanta Celebration for the students coming back to college in the City of Atlanta.
- The Historic Westside Village Festival will bring local and national awareness to our local history and current trade and industry offerings of businesses in the Westside.
- Free to Attend, Indoor/Outdoor Festival 10am to 7pm on Saturday, September 21, 2013 located 590 North Avenue NW Atlanta, GA 30318. There’s free parking and it’s on the MARTA Bus line #26
- The United Community Choir – All faiths are invited to send up to 3 members of their congregation to join the United Community Choir in praise and worship in song to perform live at the HWVFestival
- Kids Zone featuring a petting zoo, pony rides and bouncing houses
- Totally Green Festival – all styrofoam, plastics and paper are being collected for recycling and cooking oil from vendors turned into bio-fuel
Marketing Your Business Online – 10am-11a
One of the primary concerns many business owners have today is how to properly market your business online to make a return and identify ways they can develop international business relationships using digital technology. Listen to a panel of digital marketing experts on how to make your business 21st century profitable! Featuring Randy Fling of Steed Media and Eric Holden of Hawkins Consulting
How to Sell Your Home In Today’s Market – Noon to 1pm
Selling a home with so much inventory on the market can be long a process, however this seminar focuses on ways to make your property marketable, stand out from the rest and essentially get SOLD! Featuring Keyla Beryy of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and Tony Sadri of United Corp International Kitchen & Bath
Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy – 2-3 p.m.
Learn new ways to re-build your credit score faster after you filed a chapter 7 or 11 to repair your credit, acquire loans and qualify for jobs. Featuring Alison Feliciano of Credit Restoration of America
Restoring Your Finances After a Financial Setback–3-4 p.m.
Learn how to recover from financial setbacks, manage your budget and acquire wealth. Featuring Roy and Gail Jones, CPA’s
NACA’s Homebuyer/Homeowner Workshop – 4-5 p.m.
NACA shares information about one if not the best mortgage loans on the market for homebuyers; No down payment required, low fixed rate and acceptance not based on credit. Also an indepth discussion on how you can stop foreclosue proceedings on your home by utilizing Loan Modifications. Attendees of this workshop will recieve Priority Placement and avoid lines when NACA’s American Dream Tour comes to Atlanta the following week-September 26th thru 30th! Featuring Detria Austin Russell, Chief Operating Officer of NACA
Making Yourself Competitive In the Job Market – 6-7 p.m.
Discover what will make you stand out from others competiting for the same open position you want. What do hiring managers look for and desire most in job candidates. New strategies on how to market yourself and get the job. Seminar useful for experienced jobs seekers, recent graduates and current college. Featuring Nate Pinkard of Career Management Seminars LLC
Live Performances by gospel artists the Carters, Minister Yvette Knox, TARE-el, Sojo Ministries, Darius Elder and Wellspring Worship, Tabia Betts, Blacktree Music Artists-Metropolis , Bianca Star, Cal Lamar and Erika Paige, R&B sensations 6:30 Band, Al Chauncy, JeBron, Norman Frank & the Ghost Dance, Blues artist Kelsy Davis, Live dance by Ursula_INC, Sunshine, Inspirational Speakers State Representative “Able” Mable Thomas, Minister Derrick Grayson, Sharrieff Mustakeem and more to be announced.
For more information, please visit www.hwvfestival.org.