Beyond the Build


Becoming Inclusive

Last Saturday evening, when I attended KultureCity‘s KultureBALL, I was reminded once again what can happen when a grassroots idea gets the right leadership.

Julian Maha and his wife Michele Kong, both medical doctors, founded KultureCity in 2013 after their oldest child was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Ever since, their goal has been education, inclusion and to provide the alteration of public spaces, making them more sensory friendly.

KultureBALL is their annual event where celebrity and philanthropy walk hand-in-hand to promote acceptance, foster awareness and raise funds for programs benefiting children and families with autism. Football great Tiki Barber was there, along with Hamilton star Christopher Jackson, who I enjoyed sitting with at dinner. Both of these men have children affected by autism, and both have stepped up to set change in motion.

KultureCity has been around 5 short years, but as you can see in this video, the difference they have already made is staggering. As I walked around that evening, hearing the stories and seeing the map of all the current event spaces that have been changed, I found myself getting excited for what’s ahead. I was reminded that a little spark by two individuals can light a fire in the community and then maybe a nation.




Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.