SHAPE Community Center in Third Ward celebrates 51 years of service

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has forced staff at the SHAPE Community Center to cancel some events and meetings, but the center, which aims to help and educate the African American community, is still providing valuable resources.

"People need help with their stimulus. They need help with their unemployment," explained executive director Deloyd Parker. "We have a computer lab in there, you know, we help people with that."

SHAPE was founded in 1969 as a place for people to come together in support of civil rights. It's now celebrating 51 years of service.

The name stands for "Self-help for African people through education."

"A lot of people know SHAPE as the 'United Nations of the community,'" said Parker, who said the fight for racial justice, a key part of the group's mission, is far from over. "I'm 72 years old, and I've been [at SHAPE] for 51 years, so there's been a lot of George Floyd situations in my life time."



Over the years, famous leaders have given speeches at the community center located in Houston' historic Third Ward neighborhood.

Leaders have even organized some of the center's most memorable events, but Parker said their biggest goal is to serve those who live in the area.

READ ALSO: Man on a Mission: Preserving Third Ward history through home renovations

"These are progressive people," he said. "People that wanted to make a change, people contributed to making a change. People that are successful in making a change, but the struggle continues."

To learn more, visit the SHAPE Community Center's website.

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