Volume 10, Issue 2
My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what i am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it . . .
–Tyre Nichols
Header Image: Graphic Artist: Corrina Keeling, from NCLS 2022
Village Voices Opener
Network members' voices bring good news and share highlights from
around our community. 

Unsung Hero Interview: Maria McKnight
In December of 2022,

Maria McKnight

was awarded the Unsung Hero Award for her exceptional service to the Boston community to promote child and family wellbeing. 

Maria McKnight is a Boston native, mother, and former corporate worker turned curator of joy. She had a hobby of making art pieces such as fairy gardens in public parks. This passion grew during the peak of Covid due to having more time stuck inside and a child with severe anxiety who found peace and joy working with his mother to create these nuggets of joy and inspiration for the community. During this time, Maria transitioned to focus full-time on her organization 2 Birds No Stones where she organizes and develops public art installations, education stations, community sensory playdates, healing sessions, and more. Maria has set up mini outdoor yoga studios and violin play stations for locals to come and enjoy, learn, and heal. She has developed wellness trees full of free seed packets with information pamphlets on agriculture, recipes, and SNAP application instructions. She has transformed parks to host community-wide sensory playdates to bring together families with children on the autism spectrum. Where we might see a simple tree stump, Maria sees an opportunity to create something new to bring the community together around her beacons of joy. With her focus on community harmony, collective growth, and drawing people to the outdoors, Maria is using her creative passions and leadership skills to improve the Boston community.
If you are interested in learning more about Maria McKnight and her work with 2 Birds No Stones, feel free to visit her website
If you would like to reach out to Maria directly, you can find her on Instagram @twobirdsboston or email her at
Additionally, through a partnership with Brain Arts Organization, you are welcome to submit an official donation that can help fund Maria’s continuing community-impact art installations.

____________ Health City _____________

Fathers Who Lost Partners to Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Dedicating Their Lives to Birth Justice

In honor of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac, their survivors spoke at BMC's Vital Village Networks event about Black fatherhood and advocacy.

_________By Caitlin White_________
Bruce McIntyre III (left) and Omari Maynard (right) speak onstage at the "Aftershock" premiere.
Network Events
2023 Children's Mental Health Storytimes Schedule
Please check out the Vital Village Networks Calendar for a list of meetings and events.
Network Resources
Community Opportunities/
Events/ Resources

Check out job, volunteer, and grant opportunities available in our
Building Black Wealth:
Conversation & Networking Event
Date: Tuesday February 23rd
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Location: 10 Fan Pier Boulevard 10
Fan Pier Boulevard Boston, MA 02210
Celebrate Black History Month with NSBE Boston Professionals and visionary partner, MassMutual, at "Building Black Wealth." This event will be a safe space for networking and a panel discussion surrounding Black wealth and finances with aims to debunk myths and provide financial advice today to set ourselves and future generations up for tomorrow.
Please arrive between 5:30 and 6:15pm in your work attire, whatever that looks like and is comfortable to you! Admittance after 6:15pm is not permitted
Community Asset and Wealth Building Forum 
Date: Tuesday, February 28
Time: 6:30 pm - 8 pm 
Location: ONLINE - Register for Zoom Link
Cost: Free
In honor of Black History Month, join us for an evening with Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s Chief of Organizing, Policy, and Equity, to discuss how the racial wealth gap affects Roxbury and beyond with MPDC CEO Leslie Reid.
Codman Square’s Anti Racist Equity Army 
Kick off this Black History Month by taking action. Register today to become a part of the change against racism. Understanding the context and history of racism is the first step in dismantling racism. Every other Wednesday beginning March 1st-April 12th from 6pm-8pm. Sign up today to join the Anti Racism Equity Army! 
Federal SNAP information 
Breakfast and Chat with Roxbury local and state elected officials 
Date: Thursday,
March 16th, 2023
Time: 10 am to 11:30 am
(Doors open at 9:30am)
Location: Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley Street
Roxbury, MA 02119
We want to hear from YOU!
Join us to chat with Roxbury local & state elected officials while enjoying breakfast with your neighbors.
February School Vacation Week 2023 Mattapan Branch BPL Events 
Girls Who Code at Grove Hall Branch of BPL 

How are the children doing?

Across the country, recent events have continued to reaffirm the ongoing work needed to bring about necessary social transformation. Advocates and leaders like you are continuing the important work to build more equitable community systems that center dignity, healing, and resiliency. We also need time to grieve, to heal, and to restore. Collectively, we need space and time to support each other. We also need support in navigating conversations with children. Helping children make meaning out of situations we may struggle to fully understand.

During this Black History Month, and throughout the year, we would like to share resources that help children develop a strong sense of racial and cultural identity and context for understanding racial injustice.
We would like to share some resources to help you navigate these conversations with children:
Important information on MassHealth enrollment and redetermination
Upcoming Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) training opportunities led by Lakesha Allen
Want to Become a Facilitator Promoting Alternative Ways to Deal with Violence?
Join Us by Clicking on One of the Links Below:
AVP Basic Boston Workshop
April AVP BASIC over 2 weekends
Saturday (1st & 8th)
9am to 2pm EST 
Sunday (2nd & 9th)
9am to 2pm EST
AVP Basic Boston Workshop
BASIC WORKSHOP March over 2 weeks
(10 days for 2 hours each) 
Monday thru Friday (20th-24th) 
6pm to 8pm EST
Monday thru Friday (27th-31st)
6pm to 8pm EST
AVP Boston Advanced Workshop
ADVANCED Workshop in March over 2 weekends
MARCH Saturday (4th & 11th) 
MARCH Sunday (5th & 12th)
9am to 2pm EST
February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 
Notes from the BMC DV Program
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and Black History Month. This month is an opportunity to understand how racism and sexism and other forms of oppression intersect in the lives of women and girls of color.

Ujima Inc., the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, serves as a national, culturally-specific services issue resource center to provide support to and be a voice for the Black Community in response to domestic, sexual and community violence.
Ujima has recently released two culturally specific fact sheets on teen dating violence and youth sex trafficking, with particular emphasis on the experiences of and risks to young people of color.

Please raise awareness by reviewing and sharing them
Community Job Opportunities

Check out job, volunteer, and grant opportunities available in our
Important information on MassHealth enrollment and redetermination
Boston Healthy Start is seeking a paid intern to support the planning and implementation of a Breastfeeding Empowerment Zone Campaign in the City of Boston. 

Scoop on the Stats
Explore data from across the United States
Community-led data stories are important tools for systems change because they expose systemic inequities in health, education, life chances, structural racism, and lived experiences with structural violence and injustice, while elevating community solutions and human dignity. Over the past five years, the Vital Village Community Data Workgroup has co-created stories with data tools that advance systems change, addressing pressing challenges in food, housing, and transportation justice. The Workgroup is open to Boston-area resident champions and community partners. 

The Workgroup designed, launched, and curates the Abundance App, a mobile application that allows residents to find information on and leave reviews for over 400 affordable, high quality food resources in Boston including free meal sites, farmers markets, food pantries, community fridges, and specialty grocery stores. The Workgroup also developed the Community Housing Data Tool which provides individuals, families, and organizations with information about the connection between health and housing in Boston. Data stories include interactive maps, resource lists and videos on topics including needle pickup sites, support for residents with asthma, resources for families facing severe rental burden, and the lived experiences of returning citizen storytellers. Finally, this past fall, the Workgroup launched the Transportation Equity Explorer where residents can share their lived experiences on MBTA services. 

This year, the workgroup is excited to continue expanding existing tools and move forward with new storytelling efforts. If you are interested in facilitating the space, we encourage you to apply as a Community Data Ambassador before March 16 2023.
Our Mission

Vital Village is a network of residents and agencies committed to maximizing child, family, and community wellbeing.

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