Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life Enrichment Books - 16 years of service to the Puget Sound

Life Enrichment Books known as LEMS, located on Rainier Ave in Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle hosted an Anniversary weekend that had no rival in gathering African Americans from throughout the I-5 Village in WA State. Hundreds of people came by to wish Vickie Williams and Aliyah Messiah well and thank them for their contribution.  Life Enrichment is the only full service Black book store in the State and NW Region.  They are not a non profit, yet they have not seen a profit for many years. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to emcee this grand gathering of wonderful African Americans who came from all over the Puget Sound to spend three days of celebration.

They are more than a book store, they provide their space for cultural gatherings and is a meeting space for book clubs, natural hair club, spiritual gatherings, Women United for Peace Through Prayer gather there, and on the 3rd Friday of the Month Dr. Maxine Mimms our Elder of Distinction hosts the phenomenally popular and well attended Cultural Coversations Seminars.  At a time when book stores are closing their doors Vickie and Aliyah are finding ways to keep theirs open.

The weekend was filled with people meeting new and making new friends, re-acquainting with those they have not seen in years. Zambuko Marimba Ensemble led by Sheree Sereste filled all of Columbia city with their music other performers were Josephine Howell who never disappoints her audience and led us in one of the most spirited renditions of Lift Every Voice any has heard. Akua Kariamu plays a violin in a way so unique there is no way to describe her musical presentations made along with spoken word.

M L King Jr County Councilmember Larry Gosset was inspiring and was appreciated for his support of all that is done for sake of cultural enrichment, we really do need more elected officials who like us enough to spend an entire Sunday afternoon enjoying his constituents. Dian Ferguson, who is running for a seat on the Seattle City Council also came and participated in a way that makes us know we are not just a vote but people she knows and enjoys being with.

Dr. Mimms spoke of Life and Health and Nutrition, she is a model for elderhood as it can be when we take care of ourselves and honor our bodies, minds and spirit. She invited other elders in the room to join her for a photo op. Dr. Mimms is 83, Frances North is 91 and Dr. Ruth Kelly McIntyre is 73. They are beautiful, healthy and without any loss of mind, energy and humor. They are really full of banter, stories and laughter.

Patt Butler Lathan did a great job of organizing the celebration along with Vickie and Aliyah, she says she just wanted to do something to help these women who contribute selflessly to the community.  She is leading the campaign to gather pledges to assure that this space remains available to the Village for our gatherings.

No celebration is complete without food there was an abundance and Solom who owns the newly opened Ethiopian and Eritrean Restaurant of the same name donated a full course dinner enough to feed the entire crowd.  Her restaurant is beautifully decorated and besides being a good cook, she is a grand hostess. Please drop in and have a meal with her at 5100 Rainier Ave South just south of The Royal Esquire Club.

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