WakandaCon Meets The Shuri Project

In early 2018, a Facebook post about WakandaCon came down the timeline. President and CEO Kyla Williams, has participated in comic con culture and was really interested in t30264989_366179107123290_1249076047018721280_nhe concept, especially after all the well deserved support of the Black Panther Movie. The initial posting had few details, but did have a place to sign up to receive more information.

We have now come to know that WakandaCon is a afro-futuristic experience. An imagined place free and unshackled from the ravages of racism; of exploitation; of discrimination; of emotional, physical, and sexual violence. The founders, a group of siblings consisting of David Barthwell, Ali Barthwell, and Matt Barthwell hoped to create a space for people of all types to come together, educate each other, and celebrate all of our passions. While the event is targeted towards establishing a positive and supportive space for black people across the diaspora, WakandaCon is inclusive and all have been encouraged and welcome to come celebrate together. Something special to note is WakandaCon is an independent project that was not created or backed by any large corporations, and all of the programming is curated internally.


The Shuri Project had just submitted its grant proposal to The Don Benedict Fund at the Community Renewal Society and thought if funded, this would be a great opportunity to showcase the program. On March 21st, Henry Williams Love received notification of funding and on April 11th, an email officially announcing the dates, location, and programming submission details. The Shuri Project was submitted and accepted on May 7th. These details are important to the storyline of this program because two of our major programmatic goals is to improve communication and provide exposure. So, a workshop presentation at WakandaCon would meet our goals, serve as a public demonstration of the power of this program, and provide the participants with an unforgettable experience. Additionally how apropos the program was named for Princess Shuri from The Black Panther.


An appearance at WakandaCon was added to The Shuri Project participant recruitment efforts. We stress the significance of adding “conference presenter” to the list of skills participants would receive. During The Shuri Project program orientation, none of the participants had ever heard of a Con before and didn’t really know what to expect but fed off the excitement that it was something big! In our program structure, the end of Week 5 is website demo day, where youth participants demonstrate the skills learned in the program by publicly presenting their websites. However, WakandaCon was scheduled for the end of Week 4, so the participants have been working really hard to get ready for their public presentation debut. One of the things they have worked on was creating and memorizing The Shuri Project Creed.

The inaugural class of The Shuri Project will make its appearance at WakandaCon on Saturday, 8/4/18, at 11am in Salon C, Room 3. WakandaCon is being hosted at the Hilton-Chicago 720 S. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60605. The students have prepared an engaging workshop presentation that includes website demos, skill explanations, and vision boards. We are highly encouraging attendance at WakandaCon as there are several workshops, panels, vendors and other cool things to see and do. If attending, please stop by The Shuri Project presentation and show our girls some love and support.

You’re Invited!

On Monday, 7/9/18, we launched The Shuri Project in the Roseland area. The room was filled with excitement by the Board Members, Dr. Robert House (Pastor of New Life Baptist Church), consultants and instructors, the participants, and their parents/guardians. The first day of summer camp resembles the first day of school, in that it’s a push to get everyone to show up. But we are happy to report that we had 70% attendance and should have full attendance by Friday this week.

We cannot thank our consultant Monica Swope, and two instructors Janelle Cole and April Thomas enough. They have done a tremendous job in preparing to ensure this first day went smoothly and parents/guardian left feeling their children were in a safe learning space. The girls are getting acquainted with their laptops, identifying their goals, being assessed for skills, learning how to type with all their fingers, and having alot of fun.

One of the performance goals of The Shuri Project is that participants must publicly present their website and take questions from the audience during the website demo day. This year, website demo day is Thursday, 8/9/18, from 2pm to 5pm and is open to the public. We want the participants to feel supported by the community, so it is our goal to fill the room with good energy. If you are interested in attending website demo day, please register on Eventbrite.

Additionally, we will conduct a graduation ceremony for participants who successfully complete the program on Friday, 8/17/18, from 2pm to 5pm. At that ceremony, certificates of completion as well as the formal awarding of the earn laptops will occur and that is also open to the public. If you are interested in attending graduation, please register on Eventbrite.


The Power of Community

Although the Henry Williams Love Foundation is a newer organization, its leadership is not. Kyla Williams has over 20 years experience in non-profit leadership and has created over 100 different programs in her lifetime. But even with that documented professional experience, getting grants, corporate sponsorships, and donations for a new organization can prove to be a difficult task. Henry Williams Love is so grateful to The Don Benedict Fund of the Community Renewal Society for providing support to The Shuri Project. The funding has been allocated to support the facility, food, instructors, and some supplies for the program, which is amazing.

But we were left with a need. The program model calls for laptop computers girls participating in The Shuri Project can earn once they complete the six week program. All of our remaining grant applications and corporate asks were not successful, but after consulting some friends of the organization, they suggested crowdfunding. And that’s what we did.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 6.49.29 AM


With the help of some community champions donating, sharing, and pushing our Go Fund Me campaign, we were able to meet our goal of $5,000 in six days! Talk about the power of community!!!


The Shuri Project will begin on 7/9/18 with 20 girls in the Roseland community. Our program model and stretched resources has the capacity for 30 girls, so we are keeping the Go Fund Me active with hopes of being able to receive enough donations to fill those spots. At this writing, we already have enough to add 1 girl from our waiting list to the program and are really close to being able to add another.

There are 61 girls on the waiting list and we would love the opportunity to be able to have all of them participating in The Shuri Project this summer. The summer months are especially risky in Chicago and we know most unengaged youth are not being supervised, are experiencing summer learning loss, are not being exposed to new opportunities, and are not eating well.

In our strategic plan, The Shuri Project pilot site was in Roseland, but per chance we were able to raise enough funds we had identified North Lawndale as our next community. We would be able to mobilize quickly even at this late date. Maybe the power of community will continue to show up and show out this summer…

The Shuri Project Registration Application is Open!

A little under a month ago, Henry Williams Love announced The Shuri Project, a technology mentoring program for girls ages 8-12 with the goals of keeping them safe while building self-esteem and increasing their tech aptitude.


The Project is affectionately named after Marvel’s Black Panther, Princess Shuri, who was responsible for building tech in Wakanda and assisting her big brother, Black Panther, on his missions.

This project has three major objectives:
To improve communication and interpersonal skills
• To improve general and digital literacy and increase technical aptitude
• To increase workforce development skills and exposure to tech and other STEM careers

Youth that complete The Shuri Project receive 140 hours of participatory instructional time, 30 hours of nutrition time, 20 hours of recreation, 15 hours in tech career workshops, and 10 hours in arts. Youth who successfully complete the learning objectives of The Shuri Project program are awarded certificates of completion at a community-based graduation held in their honor. Additionally, youth who complete The Shuri Project program are provided with an earned learning incentive of keeping the laptop used during their learning time.

The Shuri Project will start on Monday 7/9/18 and ends Friday 8/17/18. The program will be located at New Life Baptist Church 11026 S. Indiana Avenue Chicago, IL 60628. This location is accessible and can accomodate youth with special needs. The program meets daily Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and is FREE. Youth participants will be fed a nutritious breakfast and lunch daily. Youth participants must reside in the ROSELAND COMMUNITY of Chicago.

Registration for The Shuri Project opens today and slots will be filled on a first come first serve basis after the residential address is verified. The application will close once all 20 spots have been filled, but a waiting list will open in case a spot becomes available. YOUTH ACCEPTED INTO THE SHURI PROJECT WILL BE NOTIFIED BY 5/31/18.

To register a youth for The Shuri Project, please complete this form.

Funding for The Shuri Project is made possible by The Community Renewal Society’s Don Benedict Fund.

For more information about The Shuri Project, please contact the Henry Williams Love Foundation at 815-797-9333.

We’ve been busy!

Henry Williams Love Foundation-02Starting a new organization is very exciting, especially one whose founding is based on the life of someone who was well-loved and loved well. Although the tears still fall, we know Henry Williams would be proud of what this organization has accomplished in a short time.

Here is a timeline of special moments:


August 2017 – Sponsorship of Family Movie Night in Sun River Terrace, where over 100 people watch the movie Hidden Figures.


October 2017 – Henry Williams Love Foundation received its 501c3 designation.


January 2018 – Poetry instruction to 75 students at the Global Academy of Citizenship in Chicago, IL and a culminating open mic for students and parents/guardians.


March 2018 – Scholarship fund raising in partnership with Safe and Sound for 4-$500 scholarships to a deserving high school senior who excels in poetry, dance, singing, visual arts, or volunteerism and has lost a parent(s).


We are thankful for the Board of Directors and volunteers who supported these activities, demonstrating our ability to organize and implement program, projects, and services. As such, we are very proud to announce the Henry Williams Love Foundation with our proposal for “The Shuri Project” has been awarded a grant from the Community Renewal Society’s Don Benedict Fund.

The Shuri Project is a six-week summer technology mentoring program for girls ages 8-12 with the goals of keeping them safe while building self-esteem and increasing their tech aptitude. The Project is affectionately named after Marvel’s Black Panther, Princess Shuri, who was responsible for building tech in Wakanda and assisting her big brother, Black Panther, on his missions. The Shuri Project is designed to not only improve skill levels, but to plant seeds in households to discover the many career paths that touch tech and improve quality of life opportunities. There is an old adage, “the people perish for the lack of knowledge”. The Shuri Project in its design and focus will increase knowledge and access to opportunities so young women can not just see Shuri as a fictional character on the big screen, but actualize their inner Shuri by choosing tech as a personal interest area and potential education/career path.

We are extremely grateful to the Community Renewal Society’s Don Benedict Fund for their partnership on this project. More information on location of program, enrollment, and other details are forthcoming with a program start date of Monday, 7/9/18. Please follow this website or us on twitter @henrylovesu2 for updates.

Lastly, each year on the Saturday before Father’s Day, Henry Williams was honored at a backyard BBQ party given by his children. He loved seeing all his family and friends enjoying good food and music, and celebrating what he deemed as his greatest life’s achievement; being a good father. In keeping with tradition, the Henry Williams Love Foundation has announced the “Love Hero” Award. The Award was created to pay homage to Fathers who go above and beyond in showing love to their family and community. This year (2018) will the inaugural year for the award celebrated at a luncheon ceremony on Saturday, June 16th, 2018 from 12-3:30pm. The 2018 Recipient will receive a custom award and $250 cash gift. Nominations forms for the Award can be completed at bit.ly/loveheroaward.

We hope you continue to spread the word about all the good things happening at the Henry Williams Love Foundation. For questions, please contact us at 815-797-9333 or email us at info@henrywilliamslove.org.


Who is Henry Williams?

Henry Lee Williams was born on February 9, 1936 to John and Hasseltine Williams in Maywood, IL. He was educated in Chicago until leaving for the armed forces. He served as an Airman in the Air Forces where he was honorably discharged. Henry worked at International Harvester and later retired from Whiting Corporation. Henry fell in love with and married Ola Breckenridge, which he has preceded in Death. He was an honorable family man, great father, lover of jazz music, and a really good friend.

Henry lost both of his parents at a very early age and it was kindness of family, neighbors, and friends that supported he and his siblings until they were able to transition into adulthood. He carried that kindness in his heart and was a living example of its transformative powers.

Henry hated to see people sad or in pain and went above and beyond to ensure his family was well-cared for, friends were in good spirits, and neighbors were doing well. He loved attending events at the Sun River Terrace Community Center and was known to be a prolific jokester and storyteller. Henry loved hanging out at the barber shop whether he was getting a hair cut or not to talk politics, sports, music, and to set a young person straight if need be.

His love was abundantly present and felt throughout his own community and all over the world. As such, his children in an effort to continue his legacy of loving and giving, created the Henry Williams Love Foundation.