Each “branch” of the tree brings out a different talent from one or the other, and their dream is to encompass more “branches” from collaborations within the community.
To them, the tree symbolizes the whole community. Each person within that community is a part of the tree. By helping one another, the tree grows strong and healthy.
For that reason, the couple has a strong desire to be involved in community service.
Baruti is an artist, but he also facilitates a multicultural male youth group to provide boys and young men with positive influences.
Denise is an author and provides services such as marketing, graphic design and vegan cooking and catering. She also mentors young women through her G.R.O.W.I.N.G. program.
Together, the couple moderate a couples group called Uthando.
The name “Humanitree House” stems from a series of artwork called Humanitrees created by Baruti. The series depicts human figures in the form of trees and speaks to the strength of the human spirit.
The “treehouse” concept comes from the idea of neighborhood children using their own different talents to build one treehouse.
“Everybody collectively has something to do with building this home,” he said.
Last year, the Tuckers put together the pre-Kwanzaa celebration and marketplace at Diamond Lakes to teach the community about the African culture.
It is not a religious celebration, they emphasized, but a celebration of culture.
About 35 vendors, three performers and more than 300 shoppers attended the event.
This year’s pre-Kwanzaa, which will be Dec. 9 at Warren Road Community Center, will hopefully it will be bigger. The Tuckers are collaborating with Uprising Enterprises, another civic-minded organization, to present the event.
In addition to crafts vendors, there will be live performances and face painting, and Baruti will create paintings on-site using his own artistic style – he paints with his fingers.
The event’s purpose is to both educate the community about African culture and to promote shopping locally.
“We go to Walmart and the mall and we give all of our money to them. We have people in the community that make these products we’re buying,” Denise said.
A “Good Health in the Hood” food drive will be held in conjunction with the event. Guests are asked to bring donations of healthy food items to donate to the Anitoch Ministries Food Pantry.
Acceptable items include low-sodium canned goods, sugar-free canned fruit, low-fat powdered milk and whole-grain cereal.
Denise said she hopes to steer people away from donating from the “back of the cupboard.”
“The problem is, in your community you have high blood pressure, you have diabetes, you have obesity, all of these illnesses that we are continuing to see. But if you can buy good food for your house to improve the health of your family, why do you want to give the people who are hungry anything less than what you feed your family,” she said. “What we’re doing is, again, trying to change the health of the tree.”
For more information about Humanitree House or the Pre-Kwanzaa celebration, visit www.humanitreehouse.com.