We are safeguarding St. Augustine’s against loss of collective memory, and the pressures of gentrification. We are architecturally preserving the building while envisioning it as a new Space for Black Exuberance.
Displacement of Black communities through gentrification is one of the great social justice epidemics of our times. In Cambridge, an innovative city whose growth is driven by prestigious research universities, biotech, and the information economy, generations of Black families are disproportionately put at risk of losing their homes and communities, along with the wealth and well-being anchored in these physical spaces.
Black community buildings – where people can come together and empower each other to organize for shared needs – are especially imperiled by gentrification. Many of these spaces end up being turned into private development property.
St. Augustine’s African Orthodox Church, a space for spiritual growth as well as a local Cambridgeport civil rights organization, was one such community building on the brink of being destroyed by gentrification. Safeguarding St. Augustine’s from destruction ensures that this precious public asset, and everything it embodies about the African American experience in Cambridge, will continue to enrich coming generations.
We are protecting St. Augustine’s from gentrification across many dimensions, including addressing decades of deferred maintenance, and historically preserving the church’s exterior. In addition, we are securing and updating the church’s legal documents to ensure St. Augustine’s is protected as a Black community space for the future. These activities mean that St. Augustine’s Caribbean-American footprint in Cambridgeport will remain visible to all, and that this historic Black space of arts and empowerment will continue to serve the entire community for generations to come.
We have already raised $745,000 towards the exterior restoration of St. Augustine’s, which is 85% of our current goal. With the help of our community, we can finally hit that target.
Invest in our work! 100% of your donation goes towards our mission of community-based reparation, the fight against Black displacement caused by gentrification, and the creation of the new Space for Black Exuberance at St. Augustine’s.
Donations are tax deductable; BHAC’s tax ID/EIN is 85-2043123.