Netflix’s newest film Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, has showcased a part of Philadelphia that few people knew existed. It tells the story of the Black urban cowboys in the city, and in 2019 the producers and directors of the film partnered with the late Eric Miller, and the riders of Fletcher Street to form the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA). Created to preserve the life, legacy and culture of Black urban cowboys in the city of Philadelphia, PURA recently launched “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraising campaign through GoFundMe. The campaign’s goal is to raise money for its new facility in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia that will provide a unique, safe space for children, teens and adults to experience horses up close and personal.
Due to gentrification, many of the stables that once made up the community of black cowboys in Philadelphia are gone. With the help of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and Councilman Curtis Jones, The Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy has found a new, permanent home in Cobbs Creek Park that will not only give the Urban Black Cowboy a permanent home but also offer new opportunities to everyone in the community. By supporting the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraising campaign you can be a part of the next generation of the Concrete Cowboys and Cowgirls.
PURA’s executive director Erin Brown, known as the Concrete Cowgirl, joined forces with North Run’s Missy Clark in June of 2020 to create Concrete to Show Jumping. With a mission to open doors to diversified worlds within the horse industry, Concrete to Show Jumping aims to open the eyes, minds and hearts of equestrians by participating in new experiences, forming new alliances and building friendships with equestrians from diversified backgrounds.
The “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraiser has the goal of raising $2,000,000 for PURA’s new permanent facility, This home will provide stabling for 20-25 horses, paddocks and a covered arena, as well as recreational space for other youth and veteran programs. With the help of the entire equestrian community, PURA and Concrete to Show Jumping believe that this goal is attainable. Every dollar raised will be put towards the facility and the horses and students that will call it home.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PURA is now collecting donations for the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” initiative. All donations are tax-deductible and corporate sponsors are encouraged to donate, with naming rights to the rings, paddocks, stalls and lounge are available. PURA has joined forces with Spak Group, a real estate Development Company, along with Architects from OZ Collaborative and a Landscape Civil Engineer, Ruggiero Plante, LLC. to create a forever home for youth, the community and the Urban Black Cowboy.
For more information please visit thepura.org or donate here to be a part of PURA’s mission to preserve the life, legacy, and culture of Black urban cowboys in the city of Philadelphia.