Lane Street Project: 20 February clean-up.

Lane Street Project’s fourth official clean-up day dawned blue and brilliant … and frigid. Dozens of stalwarts appeared, though, right on time. Any day we can come together for a common purpose is a good day, but today was extra special. Many thanks to LSP Team Member Raven S. Farmer, who first proposed a candlelighting service to honor those buried in these cemeteries; to Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid, who shared impactful words of prayer, reflection, and challenge; and to all who gathered. Many were moved to voice their thoughts about their Lane Street Project experiences, and we are grateful for your support and the example of unity and community that you embody.

LSP Team Members Charles Eric Jones, Raven S. Farmer, LaMonique Hamilton, Portia Newman, Joyah Bulluck, and Brittany Daniel with Rev. A. Kim Reives and Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid, our esteemed guests and allies.

A big “thank you” to Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard, who showed up not just to show up, but to put in work! Sheriff Woodard’s Wilson County roots run deep, and he likely has family buried in one of the LSP cemeteries.

This chain-link fence divides Vick and Odd Fellows cemeteries. Before yesterday morning, it was nearly invisible under a heavy cloak of honeysuckle and weedy saplings. Targeted attacks on specific problem areas are yielding immediately visible results.

When we tell you this is a multigenerational effort, we mean it!

The young people of the Wilson Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have shown incredible commitment to the Lane Street Project’s work. Thank you!

A generous donor has provided a roll-off dumpster for LSP clean-ups. All of this brush is the result of just one work day! 

Today’s great find — a brick burial vault, the first located in Odd Fellows cemetery.

——

Dr. Rashid graciously shared the text of her responsive reading yesterday:

To our Ancestors here in these hallowed grounds, because you were, we are.

So we are here.

As in the song “The Impossible Dream” by the Temptations, we dare to fight the unbeatable foe and to run where the brave dare not go.

So we are here.

We will right the unrightable wrong and try even when our arms are too weary.

So we are here.

We understand that “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.

So we are here.

“We chose to tell OURstory, not HIStory.” Dr. Judy Rashid.

So we are here.

“We recognize that the whole truth is the matter, plus the hidden facts.” Dr. Judy Rashid.

So we are here.  

“Never allow anyone to tell you that your history and culture are not important. Never let anyone tell you ‘it happened a long time ago — get over it!’ Make your history sacred.” Runoko Rashidi

So we are here.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler.

So we are here.

“No people are really free until they become the instrument of their own liberation. Freedom is not legacy that is bequeathed from one generation to another. Each generation must take and maintain its freedom with its own hands.” John Henrik Clarke.

So we are here.

“Let us not  forget who we were so we will know what we still can be.” John Henrik Clarke, paraphrased.

So we are here.

“It is up to us to tell our story in our own way without stuttering, without stammering, without whispering and without apologies.” Runoko Rashidi.

So we are here.

“We are not organized to hate other men but to lift ourselves and to demand respect for all humanity.” Marcus Garvey.

So we are here.

Finally, we know that “when your roots are so deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” African proverb.

So we are here.

Many thanks to Brittany Daniel, Portia Newman, and A. Kim Reives for these photographs.

4 comments

  1. Lisa, hats off to an incredible volunteer leadership team that have aligned themselves to carry out the vision that you established for the LSP.

    They are committed, cordial, and well organized as they greet the dozens of volunteers that come to help…then they (the leadership team) gets busy and work alongside everyone to chop, cut, and haul to clean up those sacred grounds. The progress is remarkable!

    Liked by 1 person

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