I didn’t know what to expect when I shadowed Executive Director Reesheda Graham-Washington for a meeting with Aris Simpson, Brian Smith, and President Dr. Stephen Ray, Jr. of Chicago Theological Seminary. The weekend before, two friends of mine, black young adult women in ministry, had attended an event that brought pastors and scholars together to discuss controversial topics. The topics were indeed provocative and the verbal parlay intense. Among the ever-burning question of can we (and how can we) walk together as people claiming the high calls of “Christian,” “church,” and “Body of Christ,” other questions were evoked by my young adult peers: “Where is our voice here and in the church? Will it be honored?”

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2018

Raptivist Bella BAHHS (Black Ancestors Here Healing Society) stood up and turned to face the filled room at L!ve Café in Oak Park. “Okay,” she said. She paused, took a breath, and took in the room, “Okay,” she said again, nodding her head in understanding. We were all here in the Oak Park neighborhood for a screening of “America To Me,” a ten-part documentary series primarily following students and teachers of color at Oak Park River Forest High School [...]

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2018

Moving a large organization toward race equity can be like turning a large ship full of people against a turbulent wind; and together, Breakthrough Urban Ministries and Communities First Association are up for the challenge. The morning of September 18th Reesheda Graham-Washington, Executive Director of Communities First Association, and I sat in a classroom at Breakthrough Urban Ministries’ Family Plex in East Garfield Park. Packed into the room with us was an array of people and their expressions, each holding their history with the organization, albeit days or years-long, each carrying a robust life story that they would soon endeavor to share with one another.

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2018

CFA & Mission Year take their first partnered pilgrimage to The South for continued activation of racial justice in these sojourners.

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018

Many times, the forms of oppression that are the most deeply ingrained and the most difficult to confront are those that are perpetrated by people who are unaware of the reality of their power and privilege. If we never intentionally address the ways in which our privilege is exercised, we will never be able to […]

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

They laughed at us! Should we feel indignant? Angry? Laugh with them? Be upset? Watching California farmers and Mayan men work together made me laugh too! But it was a good laugh… because as I was watching them, I saw how they learned from each other, how they really appreciated each other’s abilities and worked […]

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dear Reesheda, I write this email to convey my utmost gratitude to CFA for sponsoring my attendance on the Sankofa Journey. The experience was transformative and it gave me the opportunity to deepen my awareness in ways that will affect me both personally and professionally for the rest of my life. The journey provided me […]

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Michael Romain Contributing Reporter A prominent Austin church convened residents and activists Sept. 6 to lay the groundwork for creating a strategic plan for the community. Greater St. John BibleChurch, 1256 N. Waller, hosted the event, which drew about three-dozen people. Pastor Ira Acree, who convened the Saturday morning meeting, said the church is looking […]

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015


Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014

Please join us in welcoming Brandon M. Allen as the Director of Strategic Implementation. Brandon brings to us a wealth of resources in program planning, management, and integration by way of innovation and efficiency. Brandon has formerly served in educational leadership in Chicago Public Schools, as well as in executive level operations management at Balton […]

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014

Communities First Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Reesheda N. Washington as Executive Director. As Executive Director of The Communities First Association, Washington will direct a professional network of asset-based neighborhood developers, coaches and trainers working in over 300 neighborhoods located in more than 30 different cities in the United States (including New York, […]

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014

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