C.H.E.S.S. can best be explained by describing what each letter in the word CHESS stands for.
C stands for clean. We want to ensure that Africatown is always a clean and well manicured community. Africatown already has a crew of residents that cut grass whenever they can. We want to create a pool of funds that will pay them to cut old and disabled residents’ yards free of charge on a regular schedule. They will also be paid to cut overgrown private vacant lots. This summer a group of Africatown supporters had to have a private meeting with our city councilman and Mobile’s Mayor to have the local community center power washed and painted so it would look better. This should not have had to happen. All city community centers should be maintained equally. We will meet with any politicians necessary to ensure that taxpayers money is used equally to keep Africatown clean and well groomed. All run down houses and buildings will be renovated and only destroyed as a last resort.
H stands for healthy. We want to ensure that a community surrounded by heavy industry is monitored on a regular basis to ensure the children of the community are not negatively affected when they are born and as they grow into adulthood. Air, water and soil monitors should be set up in strategic locations and monitored often. Local, state and national environmental agencies should submit an annual report to the Africatown community reporting on their environmental findings for the year. A healthy consumption of food is also a concern. Africatown is a food desert. There is no store or food outlet of any kind within 5 miles of the community. We will address that problem. The children of Africatown must be born healthy and eat healthy to grow into a healthy, productive and responsible citizen of Mobile.
E stands for educated. The adults and children of the community must be educated properly. There should be no failing school and no failing families to have a non-failing community. The children are our future. If they are taught about the importance of growing up in a clean and safe environment, there is a good chance that the community will be clean and safe in the future. The adults in the community will be taught how to monitor the environment for themselves. They in turn will pass on that knowledge to their children. Sports will be a big part of the educational process for the children. Right now Africatown does not have a municipal park, only a play ground that is so small it can not accommodate anyone over the age of ten. According to the Africatown Plan — that the city paid $50,000 to produce — residents want to utilize the area around the community center as Africatown’s municipal park.
S stands for safe. No black on black crime. No police brutality. No domestic violence. A drug free zone. This one should be easy because all the aforementioned already exists in Africatown. The Africatown Plan calls for walking, biking, hiking and boating trails. A well kept and safe community will make all trails more enjoyable.
S stands for sustainable. The last word is the most important part of the organization. Everything that is done to help the community must be done to last forever. Stores, schools, municipal parks, housing, welcome centers, museums, etc. should all be developed in a way to last forever. Africatown as a community was incorporated in 1870 and the future planning of all areas (Hog Bayou,Plateau, Magazine, Happy Hills, Kelly Hills and Lewis Quarters) should be done in a way that insures a prosperous survival of the community.3