540WMain Receives #PlayEverywhere Design Challenge Grant

We’re proud to share that ROCket to Imagination was selected as a #PlayEverywhere Design Challenge grantee! We’re creating a playspace to help kids imagine pathways to opportunities through play, their own curiosity and accessible design that will transform an everyday space and help infuse more equitable play opportunities in [city]! Excited to start this journey […]

Adultification Bias and Brutality Against Black Girls Must Stop

Adultification Bias and Brutality Against Black Girls Must Stop Rochester almost got through the entire first month of the new year without an incident of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) using excessive force on a citizen in mental distress. This time the victim of that brutality is a 9-year-old Black girl who based on reports […]

All The Books I Read in 2020

a stack Books on desk in modern design office

All The Books I Read in 2020 This has been quite the year to say the least. Between navigating a global pandemic, sheltering in place, living and working from home, and trying to balance emotional and mental health amidst a sea of bad news and civil unrest. Reading and consuming content has in many respects […]

Everything Will Be Ok | A Year In Review (2020)

Child's pictures in a window in response to the COVID-19 virus lockdown

Everything Will Be Ok | A Year In Review (2020) Dear Community, Writing this year-end recap has probably been one of the most challenging tasks that I have had to complete in the last few weeks. Every time I started to write I just couldn’t seem to find the appropriate words that articulated the emotional […]

540WMain’s Essential Reading List (Books You Must Read) in 2021

book collage

540WMain’s Essential Reading List (Books You Must Read) in 2021 Every year we love sharing the books that inspire our mission and programming. One of the first steps to dismantling structural racism is understanding the past and how the past affects the present. It is also important to prioritize the content of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, […]

Top 10 Most Viewed Blog Posts of 2020

A young black beautiful woman is using a laptop in the living room at home.

Dear Community, Our blog was buzzing with a diverse array of content throughout the year. When we kicked off 2020 we had a goal and tagline to “Scale Up 2020”. Little did we know how much the world would change in a way that we could have never predicted. We scaled up in 2020 and […]

There’s No Such Thing As Black on Black Crime

There’s No Such Thing As Black on Black Crime In case you didn’t know There’s no such thing as Black on Black crime The “term” and ideology behind “Black on Black crime is inherently racist Most crime is proximal and directly related to poverty and not race Most violent crime across races is intraracial and […]

I Don’t Feel Like Performing

Smiling Sphere Balloon in the middle of grey crowd

it’s all a performance and I don’t feel like performing today The following message was originally sent to students in my Exploring African American Food Culture Through Food: 1619 to Present at St. John Fisher College. It encapsulates my overall feelings over the past few days. Hello Students, I am sending this note as I grapple […]

As a Black Entrepreneur, Ownership and Equity Matters

In case you missed it, 540WMain is transitioning to a virtual organization. This move is both bittersweet and incredibly exciting. In the spirit of openness and transparency I wanted share more insights on what influenced me to lead our organization in this direction and what it means for 540’s future.  As a Black Entrepreneur, Equity and […]

**Announcement** 540WMain Transitions to A Virtual Organization

540WMain is excited to announce its transition to a virtual organization effective August 1, 2020 Dear Community, After months of operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 540WMain, Inc. is embarking on a new era of growth and development by becoming a virtual organization. This pivot will allow the organization to grow its reach as […]

Existing While Black at The University of Rochester

Existing While Black at The University of Rochester The University was my first “career” job out of college (PWI; RIT) way back in 2006 and like so many other BIPOC ( Black , Indegenous, People of Color) people. I have stories of overt racism and covert microagressions during my tenure as a staff member of […]

Summer Intern Spotlight | Adam Hopson

We are pleased to spotlight Adam Hopson who has joined the 540Team a few weeks ago as our EJ Research Intern for Summer 2020 About Adam   Adam is a rising Junior at the University of Rochester, studying Biochemistry and Environmental Studies. He is serving as an Urban Fellow through the University of Rochester Urban Fellows […]

A Wednesday Word From The Director | Cherish The Present Day

Dear Community, Last week I promised a deep introspective post and now (today) I am just not feeling like writing a lengthy post. So often we hold ourselves to incredibly high standards, set these lofty expectations and then stress out when our reality doesn’t match the thing we envisioned. I have been learning and practicing […]

A (Thursday) Word From the Director | Nothing Stays The Same

Dear Community, The month of June hit us all like a wrecking ball and I am still trying to process everything that happened. It feels as if a years worth of life was packed into one month and adding all that to the “brave new world” of COVID-19 pandemic has me reeling. Thankfully, I am […]

Dear White Led Organizations

In the wake of recent #BlackLivesMatter civil unrest, protests, and uprisings 540WMain (like so many other Black led organizations) received a deluge of training, workshop, and consultation requests. The following letter is an edited version of a correspondence I recently shared with one of the white led organizations that reached out to 540WMain. As an […]

Despite Taking Precautions I Still Contracted COVID-19

thermometer sitting on a red backdrop

Dear Community, Like most here in the U.S. I watched in awe as the sate of NY closed down slowly and finally over the course of the week March 9-14, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation and changed life as we knew it forever. By the end of the day on Saturday March […]

A Wednesday Word From The Director | Education Without Borders.

Dear Community, Today we are half way through the 2nd week of our month-long virtual fundraiser Upon the launch of the campaign last week your support helped 540WMain blow past our original fundraising goal by over 50% ($10,800+ and counting) we are up to 120+ monthly members, and received the most volunteer inquirys we’ve ever […]

Black Women Roc 2020! Spotlight #1: Dr. Celia McIntosh

black american nurse in white coate

We are pleased to spotlight Dr. Celia McIntosh for our Black Women Roc! 2020 campaign About Dr. Celia McIntosh  Dr. Celia McIntosh DNP, RN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, SCRN, CEN, CCRN, CNRN, is the President of the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RRCAHT). She joined RRCAHT in 2014 after learning about the horrific crime of human […]

Black Women Roc! 2020 | Finalists Selected

Dear Community, We are so excited to share that we received over 30 nominations for our 4th annual Black Women Roc! 2020. This is the most nominations we have ever received for the campaign and we are truly grateful for all of your submissions. There is no shortage of talented Black women committed to transforming […]