Olivia Bull Wants to Bring People Together with Amani Project Cookout


Olivia Bull, founder of the Amani Project. Photo courtesy of Olivia Bull

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

LUMBERTON – Olivia Bull was moved by the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day and how it galvanized people around the country on the issues of police brutality and social justice.

After attending rallies in Philadelphia, she wondered what it would take be a good way to bring people together. That turned into the inaugural Amani Project Cookout on Sunday (July 26). The event plans hopes to bring together favorite foods, black businesses – and unity over justice.

The event will be held at Village Green in Lumberton, at 75 Chestnut Street at 2 p.m. Sunday. Bull is an impressive 18-year-old Rancocas Valley Regional High School graduate who will be a freshman at Rutgers University-Camden this year.

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“When my speak out at North Philly on Broad Street became public I was told by multiple peers that my voice need to be heard again,” Bull told Front Runner New Jersey this week. “After I realized that the protest I held in my community was a great turn out and got feedback I made a name for a grassroots program called the Amani (unity and peace in Swahili) Project.

“I thought I had great ideas moving forward but I knew I needed to get the name ASAP. So I thought what way of bringing people together and getting my name out than a traditional cookout. Although I wanted my new organization to get as much attention I wanted it to be for a good cause,” she said.

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She said she opened the cookout to Black vendors to encourage support of African American vendors. She said proceed would be donated to the Tamir Rice Foundation

Rice, 12, was shot and killed by police in front of a Cleveland recreational center in 2014 after someone complained that a man was in front of the location with a gun. Rice, who was shot among immediately upon police arrival, had a toy gun and the officers were cleared.

“I chose the Tamir Rice foundation because I’ve always been interested in his case plus Tamir would be in my graduating class this year if he didn’t face a crucial injustice in 2014,” Bull said.

She said the cookout will include face painting, water balloon toss/water guns, food, music, 50/50’s raffles and raffle baskets.

Bull’s mother, Koeberle Bull, said her daughter lost her father when she was 10, “which makes me even more proud of the adversity she has overcome to become the woman she is becoming.

“The first time she spoke out after George Floyd’s death I was there and I remember her saying, ‘I just need to say something.’ This movement has made her realize her passion and the need for real change and act on it. She is amazingly resilient and has so many ideas and such drive and motivation I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

For more information on vendor opportunities and the cookout, contact Bull at bullolivia34@gmail.com.

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