Thursday, August 25, 2011

ACTIVISM ALERT!: The La Mott Community Garden

Yesterday at Temple Fest Day 1 we spoke with a woman involved in the efforts to save the La Mott Community Garden. The garden is not only significant to the community because it is likely the oldest community garden in the city (80 years old), not only because it is one of the most important African American community centers in the area, but it's also historically significant as a site visited by famous abolitionists such as Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman. The property was also used as Camp William Penn, the first training camp for Black soldiers during the civil war.

And here's the issue. After Temple moved Tyler to main campus a couple years ago, it has been trying to sell that old land to developers. Temple owns the 1.8 acres that the La Mott Community Gardens is on--although in a separate deed from its other property-- and wants to sell it. And, unsurprisingly, is not being very good about listening to the community members who want to preserve this garden for both its social and historical value.

This is not the first time that the Temple administration has attempted to impose its big business interests over the people. Temple likes to advertise that it is involved in the community around us and often it is. However, as we did in 2009-2010 with PASNAP and the Temple Nurses, I think we should show solidarity with the La Mott Community Garden in its efforts against big-business Temple. The woman we spoke to yesterday, Diane Williams, gave us a DVD that she helped produce with a video about the La Mott Community Garden. It's an 11-minute video which I watched this morning, and I think it does a great job at explaining just how important this garden is. Diane is really excited that we seemed interested and would be willing to come to a meeting to talk about what we can do.

As we supported the nurses two years ago in their fight against the Temple administration, I think it is again time for us to use our student power to put pressure on the administration to preserve the garden.

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
-Frederick Douglass

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