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Raleigh cultural center repairing damage caused by February severe weather outbreak

Posted March 7

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— This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week across North Carolina, but parts of the state are already having to clean up after pre-spring tornadoes and severe weather.

The Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center, on Lake Ridge Drive near Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, closed Feb. 24 after strong winds brought a 70-year-old oak tree down on the facility.

The tree fell into the main meeting area of the center, which serves as a community gathering place for working-class families, low-wage workers and immigrants.

The tree did $200,000 in damage to the main meeting area, walls, projector and sound system.

Angaza Laughinghouse, the center's co-director, says they hope to have center back up and running in three months.

"This is a very poor, working-class community," he said. "People need hope. There can be no hope unless there is justice. If they aren't talking how to make justice, then there is no way to move forward."

The center hosts youth programs and also holds educational workshops about women's rights, workers' rights and labor laws.

Laughinghouse says the goal is to reopen in time for the center's annual end-of-year celebration for area school children.

To follow along with the progress or make a donation, visit the cultural center's website.

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