In response to a 2019 incident in which white supremacists graffitied Nazi swastikas from downtown Eugene to the Whiteaker Neighborhood, Talicia quickly organized a community picnic in Monroe Park. Her family threw a BBQ pit in the back of their truck and served hamburgers and hotdogs to 100 people. People from diverse walks of life showed up in solidarity, bringing along their picnic blankets, hula hoops and potato salad.
After the world witnessed the atrocious murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Talicia knew she needed to bring the community together, and the time to organize was now.
A few months later, Talicia and her dear friends Lela Ross and Kokayi Nosakhere, a Black author, scholar and historian, organized a Pacific Northwest lecture and book signing event at Alton Baker Park. Even at the height of the pandemic, 75 people — half of which were Black! — showed up for Kokayi’s lecture on the “History of Black Nationalism.” The energy at the event was amazing! Talicia saw that Black people in her community were ready to gather, and she knew she needed to create a place of belonging, connection, pride and joy within the community, which would promote healing and wellness.
Talicia got to work, putting a lifetime of grassroots community organizing experience into action. She worked with a production team of three people who shared a similar vision to present the 1st Annual Black Cultural Festival, held on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. What was unique about this cultural event is that all the marketing and community outreach was directed to Black folks only and 80% of attendees were Black people. A turnout like this is almost unheard of in Lane County, which has a little over 1% Black population!