Akwasi Evans was an East Austin activist, publisher, warrior of the beloved community and an original voice for KAZI’s Breakfast Club. He launched a community newspaper, NOKOA, in 1987 to shine a light on progressive political action in Central Texas. Known for speaking truth to power, he advocated for people of color in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of East Austin. I attended his tribute yesterday and found a heartwarming vestige of Austin’s Beloved Community at Kenny Dorham’s Back Yard, a venue for DiverseArts productions. While the condos are creeping, music is flowing and food trucks are circling this small fortress of cool on East 11th.
For those of us who remember Austin in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, seeing an alley or a field that hasn’t been destroyed or a venue that has stood the test of time brings a rush of nostalgia. Yearning for the freedom of youth, good old days of cheap rents and eats is a way of life. Those were the daze my friends, we thought they’d never end. Glad to see a little left.