The second cohort of Urban Triage’s Supporting Healthy Black Families (SHBF) graduates in January. Founder Brandi Grayson is hoping to celebrate the accomplishments of the families through an Ugly Sweater Extravaganza on Saturday, Dec. 28.
SHBF is an initiative Grayson started in April. Black parents and families go through a 90-day training where, through empowerment, the group creates a different reality for themselves outside the context of oppression, Grayson said.
“We learn how to stand in that space of possibilities,” she said.
Parents train for 12-15 hours per month and receive a stipend of $15-$20 per hour on a sliding scale.
“The reason we provide a stipend is because we understand Black families are disproportionately impacted by poverty and they are surviving. We want to be able to support them in that as they gain understanding, analysis and education so they can be self sufficient. They are building tools to navigate complex systems,” Grayson said.
This Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at 1740 Fordem Ave. all are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of the participants and how the program has helped them. Grayson hopes people can network and celebrate their achievements.
A $15 donation is suggested at the door, although people can feel free to write “a bigger check than that,” Grayson said with a laugh. All proceeds will benefit Urban Triage. Their work, Grayson said, is being done nowhere else in Madison.
“Nobody is talking about what structural racism really means,” Grayson previously told Madison365. “When we talk about structural racism, it’s the lack of access to things. But if we’re not teaching Black people, or people who are most disenfranchised, to access and navigate those resources and have their own understanding and analysis of structural racism and how it impacts them, in my opinion, then we’re not talking about anything!”
The celebration will open with a lighting of the the Kwanzaa candle. During the party Grayson and Fee Gettintoit will do stand up comedy, MadTown Finest Poets will present spoken word performance, and there will be a DJ as well. There will be appetizers, soul food, catfish, chicken and a cash bar.
Grayson said that the organization is possible only through community support.
They are able to advocate for at least five people every day asking for references, community resources, advocacy for their children in school, and assistance navigating the legal and justice system. Grayson said she gets at least one call per week from a family of a child who has been injured at school.
“I just want to honor that this concept of, ‘for us by us,’ and show how appreciative we are as an organization for the wide community support. Because of the community–we are,” Grayson said.
If you’d like to donate to Urban Triage but can not attend the event click here. Urban Triage Ugly Sweater Extravaganza is set for 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 at 1740 Fordem Ave.
This article has been updated to correct several outdated details.