Bernard Black recognized the need for a African American non-profit in the La Crosse community. He talks about how the African-American Cultural Alliances came to respond to that need. One of these needs was furniture, and with the help of others, his nonprofit was able to help alleviate this need.
Location: Scenic Center Building, 115 5th Ave S, La Crosse, WI 54601
We had an office right downtown, on 5th and Main. It was the Scenic Center building. And the reason I chose that is because I wanted so people could ride the bus there, get the bus there, bicycle or walk, it was a central location. So, everybody easy to find. Cause a lot of families who I know that didn’t have modes of transportation. As a Spiritual person, as a Christian, I was taught to love all people so it was easy for me. I started a non-profit organization. The name came up good when I said okay, AACA, African American Cultural Alliances. So that made it more cultural, so any individual, race, creed, color, can come to the organization. So that’s where it got started. What really gets me that our most biggest need people needed was furniture. Beds, couches, chairs, furniture. So, I remember this one lady lived in Sparta. She got called, deployed to go to Iraq, it was during the war in Iraq. So, she said, “Bernard, I’m leaving, I gotta go to Iraq, come to my apartment in Sparta. I live off-base and you can have every furniture you need.” ‘Cause she don’t know if she is coming back or not. So, I went up there with my friend with a pick up truck and we took everything we could possibly put on the truck. From TV to, ya know, couches, to bed, everything. I haven’t heard from her yet. Ya know, I hope she’s still alive. I’m Bernard Black and I work at Western Technical College, position as a multicultural student advisor. You gotta find out where your role in this community, what’cha wanna do here. We are gonna promote cultural awareness and understanding. And I hope other individuals do the same.