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Safety in Community

AntoniaAC's picture

Safe. That is the single word that comes to mind when I think of the Norris Gardens in North Philly. Yes, I saw the needles and I understand the violence that happens around the lots, but I also saw the potential. I think we all did. This is the reason we have classes like "Changing Our Story;" it is out of necessity. We must learn about true positive change and be exposed to the power we all have to make in the world. It was obvious, while not as openly discussed, the inequities that forced the six Puerto Rican women to attempt to create a home for the neighborhood. It was rundown but it was there. As a place of refugee and I think that is admirable. As mother Theresa said,"I don't do great things. I do small things with great love," and that what these women did. They cared so deeply about their community and the future generations that they spent time and money creating a space for culture, agriculture, and peace to be cultivated. It is easy to align one's self with the desire for social justice but the Norris Gardens were a tangible creation of this justice. The offered not only a place for solace but also a place to find strength in identity. The idea of breaking down lines of polarization and resurrecting a world reliant on nature is, in my opinion, heroic. Safety is the theme I choose because as I sat in the main room. I looked around and saw identity and culture. I saw history books about Sojourn Truth and Afro-Latina studies. Pride in the community but also a place of education. As Anne Dalke's daughter said the gardens were situated in the middle of historically Irish, Puerto Rican, and Black areas. This place was not there for clashing rather for the after affects. For the moment in-between when it is necessary to not see differences as dividing but as community building.