The Santa Monica Black Lives Association, a philanthropic organization designed by Black community leaders to support Black Santa Monicans, has officially been recognized as a nonprofit and introduced to the public.

The news came during Thursday evening’s “Courageous Conversations: Why Black Lives Matter” event, which sought to allow members of the public an opportunity to engage with esteemed writers, Erika Smith and Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Following a brief presentation of Santa Monica’s Black History and the work that’s been undertaken since Santa Monica’s City Council decided to support the creation of a Black Agenda, local business owner Kera Blades-Snell said she was proud to announce the Santa Monica Black Lives Association has officially been registered as a nonprofit.

Blades-Snell said the Santa Monica Black Lives Association, “is a multi service community based agency that addresses the health, wellness, mental health, and socioeconomic needs of the Black community. We offer direct and indirect services designed to improve the quality of life, personal resilience and virtual foundation of Black Santa Monica community members.”

SMBLA also hopes to help Black residents cope with the impact of systemic racism and create a climate for non-Black community members to learn and acknowledge the part that many have played in ongoing systemic racism towards black people in our community, Blades-Snell said during the event, which is now available on Youtube. “We also provide a space for listening and learning so non-Black community members can become better informed on what racism and implicit biases are and work together to eradicate them from our community.”

But since SMBLA is a newly formed agency, Blades-Snell said community support is essential as she encouraged residents to visit the website to learn more about the mission or subscribe to its newsletter so they can keep up with different events that are already planned accepting registrations.

Business owners and Santa Monica based organizations should contact us as well, Blades-Snell added. “We would love to partner with you. We can help and provide training and also assist in creating your organization’s DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) policies and procedures. The Black population of Santa Monica is only 4%, but I can assure you our love for the city is more than 100%, so on behalf of SMBLA and the Black Agenda, I would like to thank you for your attention and support… It really takes a village, but in our case, it takes a city.”