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Conversations in 2020 – Session 2

On Tuesday, July 21, we hosted the second 2020 session of Conversations on Race & Racism with over fifty people in attendance. A video recording of the second session is embedded below.

Two special guests were invited: Alison Espinoza of Rootworker’s Croft in West Bloomfield NY; and Jessica Gilbert from Rushville NY, who is also a PhD Candidate at the SUNY University at Buffalo and a food justice activist.

In 2020, Conversations on Race & Racism are sponsored by 13 libraries in the Pioneer Library Systems. A list of the sponsoring libraries are below.

For further inquiry, participants are encouraged to view a presentation by Chris Bolden-Newsome, an urban farmer and youth educator from Sankofa Community Farm, which is a part of Bartram’s Gardens in Philadelphia, PA.  A link to the presentation and some questions to ponder are below.

For those of you who were unable to attend last Tuesday’s program, here it is on YouTube:

The link to the homework presentation is here: “Chris Bolden-Newsome” and here are some questions to consider while viewing or afterwards:

  • How has your personal discomfort or hopelessness regarding the suffering of others led to apathy in your life?  In what ways do you tune out to the suffering of others?  In what ways might you tune in more to the suffering of others in a way that is productive and leads to action?
  • What might be some opportunities that can emerge from this current racial and social crisis that we are in?
  • What might it look like to willingly and intentionally engage in suffering or struggle together with those that are different then ourselves?

Here is a list of the libraries that sponsored this event:

  • Naples Library
  • Newark Public Library
  • Wadsworth Library
  • Marion Public Library
  • Palmyra Community Library
  • Lyons Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Livonia Public Library
  • Victor Farmington Library
  • Sodus Community Library
  • Clyde-Savannah Public Library
  • Gorham Free Library
  • Macedon Public Library

Conversations in 2020 – Session 1

This past Tuesday, July 14, over 60 people joined us for the first session of Conversations on Race & Racism in 2020, co-facilitated by Food for the Spirit co-founder Rebekah Williams and our friend and partner, Petra Page-Mann of Fruition Seeds. A video recording of that first session is embedded below.

As you will see in the below video, this past week’s program also featured two special guests, Jim Wood and Earl Greene of Wayne Action for Racial Equality.

Conversations on Race & Racism are sponsored by 13 libraries in the Pioneer Library Systems. A list of those libraries sponsors are below.

To conclude this past week’s session, participants were invited to engage in further inquiry by viewing a presentation by Jeffery Robinson, the ACLU’s top racial justice expert, between this week’s session and next. A link to Mr. Robinson’s presentation and some questions to ponder are below.

For those of you who were unable to attend last Tuesday’s program, here it is on YouTube:

The link to the presentation by Jeffery Robinson is here: “The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States” and some questions to consider while viewing or afterwards are:

  • What is the role of educational institutions in teaching our shared history?
  • Why might it be important to examine what we (as a nation) have memorialized and created monuments of?
  • What is the role of the media in shaping our collective consciousness?

Here is a list of the libraries that sponsored this event:

  • Naples Library
  • Newark Public Library
  • Wadsworth Library
  • Marion Public Library
  • Palmyra Community Library
  • Lyons Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Livonia Public Library
  • Victor Farmington Library
  • Sodus Community Library
  • Clyde-Savannah Public Library
  • Gorham Free Library
  • Macedon Public Library

Freedom Gardens Education

We have scheduled the first in a series of Freedom Gardens Educational Gatherings.

All of our Educational Gatherings will be interactive, short, and virtual (via phone or computer) for you and your fellow Freedom Gardeners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you may have all the pieces to grow your own Freedom Garden at home on your own, you are not alone!

To tap into the Freedom Gardens community and network, join us for this first virtual gathering.

Tues, June 9 at 5:30 to 6:15 PM

WELCOME! FROM BUFFALO FREEDOM GARDENS… In this first Educational Gathering, you will learn more about Freedom Gardens- what the program is, who runs it, and upcoming Educational Gatherings and additional resources that are available to you and your fellow Freedom Gardeners.This first event will be facilitated by Gail Wells, Rebekah Williams, and others.

You can join the gathering via phone or computer.

To join via Computer:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84323859192

Meeting ID: 843 2385 9192

To join via Phone:

One tap mobile

+19294362866,,84323859192# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 843 2385 9192

Get more details about this and future gatherings on this webpage. Stay tuned!

Ques? Call (716) 830-9453 or email Gail Wells at yourfreedomgarden@gmail.com or Rebekah Williams at Rebekah@foodforthespirit.org.

Freedom Gardens Thank You

An open letter to the Buffalo BIPOC community,

All around the country community responses to the COVID-19 virus have been varied, most have been uplifting and inspiring and a few divisive and disturbing.  The virus has manifested in Buffalo like it has in other places, spreading in Black populations disproportionally thereby resulting in more cases and deaths. It has exposed and exploited the systematic conditions that arise when poverty and race are neglected and ignored. Our response to this crisis has been to target the underlaying causes that perpetuate the health disparities in our communities…the lack of healthy fresh nutritious food. Our health will improve when we have neighborhoods that prioritize health and wellbeing.   

This letter is a thank you to everyone who contributed to our marketing success and provided funding for Freedom Gardens.  For over a century Buffalo has been the epicenter of Black freedom movements created in response to challenging moments in history. An expansive coalition of community-based organizations announced the Buffalo Freedom Garden initiative to bring organic gardens that inspire resilience, independence and community building to residents in the zip code areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus. Our print campaign was launched last week with an ad and article in The Challenger News. The message that Freedom Gardens was our response to the COVID crisis was carried by influencers on social media, radio programs on POWER 96.5, and undergirded by a direct marketing campaign fueled by the power and influence of community-based organizations! Once the community began to take notice in less than five days over 334 households applied for 50 gardens!  I would like to thank all the families and individuals that filled out an application. Your outpouring of support is being used to expand the number of gardens we can establish in an attempt to meet the increased demand.   

Black owned media outlets, Citigroup, WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, Juneteenth Festival Agricultural Pavilion Committee, Food for the Spirit, Grassroots Gardens, Access To A-Free-Ka and others played a critical role in organizing, promoting, funding and providing leadership for this initiative.  Please join me in acknowledging our sponsors and supporters. Our best moments come when we unite as a community to do the work of the people! Together we rise! 

Sincerely,

Gail V Wells & Rebekah Williams

Freedom Gardens