I suppose trying to find solutions to poverty through action, has always been with me, mostly because of Grant Blvd. That’s where I lived, in the house at 2677. It’s the place where my parents found time to volunteer in service to other Black folks. They came from struggle and lack, and they understood the obstacles other folks, particularly Black folks faced. I was a kid who watched my mom drive on weekends to give emotional support to female inmates in a correctional facility. And I listened to my dad who was engaged as, essentially, a food activist. But to be even more transparent, Grant Blvd is the story of two types of American families: those who know stability, security & hope- which, until I was 13, was us. But it’s also the story of families that collapse- families that face adulthood depression, self-medication with cocaine, and the weighing “criminal options” as a means of surviving. Grant Blvd is the place where I learned the power of acting with love and of speaking out against inequity. It’s the place that I think best defines who I am.
In a word, Grant Blvd is a response to slavery, to leased labor, to Jim Crow, to persistent economic injustice and marginalization. We need to completely reimagine our response to poverty and the criminalization of it, and we also have to radically change how we create pathways to self-sufficient living for black & brown people who’ve been incarcerated. Our work to use fashion to create employment opportunities and points of exposure to the skills we all need to find long term peace isn’t about supporting the othered “them” that've been incarcerated (mind you, too often due to poverty and trauma and untreated emotional or mental health struggles). It’s about us, all of us, and it’s about designing radically inclusive pathways that pursue the long term plan of progressing our collective good, and let’s not ever forget, the good of our planet. Grant Blvd is about intersectional design. Grant Blvd is about the only way forward.
And forward is the motion,
Kimberly McGlonn, CEO & Founder of Grant Blvd