Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Affinity Community Services (Affinity) held its annual Burning Bowl Jan. 9 on Zoom and Facebook Live.
This year's theme was "Community Undivided." Among other items, the Barbara "Robbie" Smith Award of Excellence was bestowed on The Care Plan owner Jacqueline Boyd.
During Affinity Board President Anna DeShawn's opening remarks, she emphasized the use of the #CommunityUndivided hashtag on social media this calendar year and explained that they host this event every year primarily as an attention setting exercise.
Affinity Program Coordinator Erma BreAnn reflected on last year's triumphs and what they have learned since taking on this post. They also showcased the organization's new website design, the many virtual events and office hours they had this past year, and the growth they achieved in multiple areas despite the pandemic.
As she has done for previous year's Burning Bowls, renowned poet and activist e. nina jay wrote and performed a rousing poem reflecting on the monumental year that was 2020.
Affinity 40 Plus Peer Lead and 2020 Barbara "Robbie" Smith Award recipient Ann Mo Rowell presented Boyd with her award.
Boyd said she was "humbled, overwhelmed and greatly appreciative" to be receiving this award. She talked about what it means to get this award in light of the domestic terrorism insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week and what has transpired over the past year.
"I am so proud to be part of the second generation of Affinity," Boyd added.
Boyd also said she never knew Smith but had heard many stories about her life and work. She said that Affinity has been vital for the community since its founding. Boyd also talked about the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests and congratulated the newly elected Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).
Affinity Board Vice President Aisha N. Davis spoke about the need for funding and asked people to give of their "time, talent and treasure."
BreAnn's housemate and Affinity member Jenna Anast did a meditation exercise to help attendees with their intention setting for the coming year while Affinity Board Treasurer Jas Thurmond and Affinity Board Member Rae C. Taylor shared Affinity's digital vision board.
See www.affinity95.org/ and www.facebook.com/AffinityCommunityServices/ for more information.