The Black Community Information Center Inc. (BCIC) became a reality as a community organization in 1981 and as a nonprofit in 1986. During one of our organizational board of directors meetings in 1990, we were reviewing our “in kind” community service accomplishments, when a board member remarked that the BCIC “did not have a place of our own.” That comment began our eighteen year quest to secure a building for the organization from which to operate.
After much research and searching, we were able to identify a city owned abandoned building located at 516 Warren Street in Dorchester, MA. It had previously served as a nursing home and had been vacant since 1987. Due to great deal of resolve and support from Rev. Ernest Branch of the Veterans Benefits Clearing-house CDC, we submitted an RFP for consideration to become owners of the property. Fortunately through the Department of Neighborhood Development, we were designated for ownership of the property.
In the spirit of Umoja (Unity), we agreed to name the building Imani (Faith) House with the “seven principles”of Kwanzaa being the guiding force from which we would operate. Construction rehabilitation of the building began in 2007 and we were able to occupy the building in May, 2008. Imani House has nine units of housing for formerly homeless elderly and the offices of the BCIC. In addition BCIC provide social service assessment and a service component for the tenants. Imani House also provides meeting space for community organizations.
BCIC is proud and very pleased with our ownership of Imani House. It is our hope that our permanent home will serve as a “beacon of light” for the community in providing a strong example and message that much can be achieved through Kujichagulia (Self Determination)!