Power Profile: Arden K. Blackwell

Arden K. Blackwell jokingly refers to herself as a duel citizen of Birmingham and Homewood, Alabama. Her 12 year history of community organizing began at the ripe age of 17 with the founding of her first student organization at Homewood High School; followed by the development of a second organization her senior year at TROY University, where she studied Humanities & Leadership Development, Ms. Blackwell is an Alumna of both institutions. An embodiment of her formal and self-education, Arden has proven to be ahead of her time in multiple arenas. As newly appointed Executive Director of The National Business League of Alabama (NBLA), she is the force behind reinvigorating the 118 year legacy of Dr. Booker T. Washington; The National Negro Business League (1900) was America’s first economic development organization. NBLA is gearing up to form a Cooperative Economics Network, of African-American businesses throughout the state of Alabama, starting with a pilot here in Birmingham (alabamabusiness.org). Arden is Ward 2 Representative for the Homewood Arts Council and serves on the Alabama Humanities Foundation, Young Professionals Board as Event Chair; she was also 2017 Advocacy Chair for the Birmingham Urban League, Young Professionals. Ms. Blackwell integrates her organizing and artistic talents into a unique form of community development through social justice. Arden’s life work emphasizes that by addressing the holistic needs of individuals, communities transform themselves from within; the definition of true empowerment. She demonstrates this by curating events, festivals, workshops and campaigns that highlight and connect diverse community organizations on wellness and justice initiatives that enrich our cultural heritage. Arden’s free lance installations include: BMA’s Art on the Rocks: Ensley Alive, Birmingham Art Walk, Homewood City Hall Gallery, Ensley Renaissance Festival, and Birmingham Kwanzaa just to name a few. Arden is humbled by the opportunity to serve as a core organizer for the Social Justice Committee of Mayor Woodfin’s transition team, City of Birmingham, Alabama. She hopes to be instrumental in assisting local creatives with establishing economic infrastructure for a thriving Arts & Entertainment Industry. Arden’s acumen on the social-emotional needs of African-Americans is beyond her years. Her ability to bridge the associations between Cooperative Economics and Sociology earned her seat of Apprentice, to prominent business leader Robert Dickerson, Jr. This dynamic duo is creating a model of intergenerational mentorship to be implemented cross sector, as a prototype for the mass transference of skills, knowledge and resources to Alabama’s future leaders. In her spare time Arden loves to compose music, create DIY health and beauty products, binge watch educational documentaries and is also a vintage maven; her mind has been free from television since 2009.