The Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community (JF/HTHLC) is a multi-racial, cross-generational coalition of educators, activists and artists working together with local disenfranchised youth to explore, envision and live healthy, authentic lives.
The Julius Ford/ Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Conference (JF/HTHLC) is the centerpiece program of the Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community. JF/HTHLC recognizes the reality of longstanding racial oppression and economic inequality experienced amongst urban youth and other underrepresented groups of young people, and therefore aims to create an inter-generational experience that will provide tools, possibility and space for participants to empower themselves with support, encouragement and love. Participants tackle issues of personal and social identity, oppression and other social problems or issues impacting our communities.
This year's JF/HTHLC Summer Conference will be an internal process in which the Community will focus on clarifying the organization's mission, values and operational guidelines.
"We graciously ask for your help as we continue to engage as 'world change agents,' building a brighter future with and for our young people through the ever-evolving, love-filled Julius Ford Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community, of which you are a part!" - JF/HTHLC Organizers
The Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Project (HTHLP) has been bringing groundbreaking experiences to urban youth of color (ages 11-17) every summer since 2007. During a five-day intensive at Earthdance, project youth and organizers explore a truly holistic approach to healthy living by learning about and practicing: critical thinking, self-expression, nutrition, integrative arts and performance, and sustainable living technologies. Youth participants and project leaders come from communities, organizations and schools such as Greenfield.Step Forward, Step Ahead/Quest, YouthBuild - New Bedford, Fertile Ground, and Holyoke Food & Fitness Policy Council.
In 2010, one of the projects’ Founders, Julius Ford, passed away leaving behind an overwhelming number of community members, organizers, activists, educators, and youth for whom Julius was a role model and inspiration. With the loss of Julius has also come an outpouring of support. The number of project organizers has doubled due to the enthusiasm and commitment to continuing Julius’s dream through this important work.
In honor of Julius, the theme of the 2010 conference was Liberation & Legacy. Each day included workshops and breakout sessions designed and facilitated by participating youth leaders, directors of urban social service organizations, Social Justice Educators, Julius' wife, a profound community organizer herself, and Earthdance educators. The workshop included topics such as Critical Thinking, Team Building (both indoors and outdoors), Poetry and Dance-Making, Yoga & Contemplative Arts, Economic Justice and Ecology, and Sustainable Building. Everyone at the conference participated in basic living tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and food production. The Conference culminated in a group celebration, community-wide potluck, performance by Re-Birth (a band formed of musicians touched and inspired by Julius and as a result of his passing), a slideshow of the week, and reflection/contemplation/group evaluation of the conference itself, and the actions each participant would take from there forward into our lives and communities.