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antwon cloird

New social service group hosts outreach at Nevin Park

on December 19, 2011

For Men and Women of Purpose, the model aspires to be: Work now, and the support will come.

“We just need to get out here, raise awareness and work with the community now,” said Bryan Hancock, a veteran of community nonprofit social service organizations and one of about a dozen people who have coalesced into the new group. “The support will come.”

The style was on display Saturday, as the group, led by local activist Antwon Cloird, hosted a block party-style barbecue at Nevin Park. More than 150 people passed by, got some good barbecue and heard about how the Men and Women of Purpose could be of service.

“We get out here to let the people know we are going to be here for them,” said Cloird, 48, a rapid-fire talker known to many locals for his activism in local peace movements and his fiery appearances at City Council meetings.

Cloird’s group includes former felons, drug addicts and others who have overcome adversity and amassed expertise in various mental health and social service areas.

Cloird hopes to establish a one-stop shop on 23rd Street where Richmond residents can come for help with everything from substance abuse to early childhood development. The group has a 24-hour hotline (510.837.4695) residents can call for assistance with a range of challenges, Cloird said, and a Facebook page.

Cloird and Hancock said they met last month with Police Chief Chris Magnus and other top police brass, adding that the department seemed impressed and willing to work with them.

The group has also met with City Manager Bill Lindsay.

Cloird said he plans to host a similar event in North Richmond next month.

Residents on Saturday said they liked what they heard.

“I know Antwon is committed, and I know his group can do some good out here to help people and stop the violence,” said Albert Lee, 53, who said he admired Cloird’s work during the “Tent City” peace demonstrations of 2006. “They just have to get some support.”

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