The CHESS (Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe & Sustainable) Community Organization launched in the Fall of 2017 after establishing a partnership with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium. The mission of CHESS is to strive for a community that is environmentally clean which involves beautifying streetscapes, ensuring that residents live in a healthy environment through innovative community restoration and preserving historic homes and schools to ensure children are well educated, safe with a zero tolerance for crime, and experience a sustained great quality of life.

To accomplish our mission we have implemented projects and trainings to insure we are always working to make things better for the Africatown Community:
CHESS has organized quarterly trainings with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium to ensure the CHESS team leaders are equipped with the tools and resources needed to serve the community and that CHESS stays on track towards the accomplishment of its mission. In addition, CHESS meets monthly to discuss its community plan and create new projects when appropriate.

The following is a list of activities and events organized by CHESS in 2018:

  • Held quarterly Africatown Community Meetings that have served to educate, inform and bring together the Africatown Community as never before.
  • Sponsored a session where officers from The Mobile Police Department spoke with players from the Africatown Youth Football Program.
  • Created a monthly Africatown News Blog that informs Africatown residents and others about things going on in Africatown.
  • Purchased and installed Tarps to place on homes in Africatown that have leaking roofs.
  • Created tours of Africatown for individuals and organizations that are interested in learning more about the Historic Africatown Community.
  • Started a project together with MEJAC that describes all lots located in Africatown.
  • Started a process that will begin a school /parent/teacher organization, something the Africatown school has not had in several years.
  • Working to implement the Africatown Plan that sets out a unified vision for the long-term revitalization of Africatown, a plan paid for by The City Council and approved by The Mobile Planning Commission.
  • Monitoring Industry in Africatown to ensure that they are held accountable for toxic emissions spewed into nearby communities.
  • A major sponsor of the annual Africatown “Kids Kite Day”.
  • A major sponsor of the annual “Africatown Community Day Celebration”.
  • A major sponsor for the first “Africatown Connections Blueway Celebration”.

Although CHESS has only been in existence for 14 months, it has established a voice throughout the Africatown Community and the City of Mobile. CHESS together with continued capacity building through the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium, expects to be a beacon of hope for the Africatown Community and an example for other underserved communities looking to improve their quality of life today and in the future.

By Joe Womack
President of CHESS