The Somerville Community Growing Center and its board, the Friends of the Community Growing Center (FCGC), stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in protest against police violence across the country. Locally, we are heartened by Mayor Curtatone’s message declaring racism a public health emergency and City budget proposals to address structural racism and equity within our community.
We at the Growing Center recognize that access to nature is also political. The Growing Center was born of community activism linked to the belief that time spent in nature, outdoor play and exercise, and relaxation in green spaces are important for good health, and that access to the outdoors should be safe and welcoming for all people. Carolyn Finney, author of Black Faces, White Spaces, explores how redlining, segregation by the National Park Service, and media representation have long portrayed outdoor recreation as white only. We are conscious of the history of parks, beaches, and other public space being off limits, either by overt segregation, or implied restrictions that further marginalized non-white people. Recent incidents, including the harassment of Christian Cooper, a Black bird watcher in Central Park, the death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery, and many other acts of racism and violence, demonstrate that racist attitudes are still horribly present in this country.
The Friends commit to examining our planning, policies, programs, and communications with an anti-racism and equity frame in the context of our mission and community environment. We will strive to individually and collectively listen and learn, to reflect, and to take action to more intentionally serve as a model of how one small community place can become a safe and equitably utilized urban green space with the intention of dismantling spatial segregation and injustice. The Friends of the Community Growing Center are striving to fulfill the vision that the Growing Center be a place of welcoming, respite, and recreation within the City of Somerville for all people.
Below you will find a short list of resources that we hope will provide a starting point for our shared conversation. We look forward to continuing to grow with you.
–The Friends of the Community Growing Center