Students from Della’s Class performing Oral Histories! And the reaction to one of the performances!
Robert Revels, one of the original folks involved in our work at the Jackson Center from St. Joseph’s—and the lead singer of “We Shall Not be Moved” at every Jackson Center event – brought his wife (newly wed!) by the other day. She said, “Robert is always talking about how wonderful the Jackson Center is, so I wanted to come by and see it myself. ” Mr. Revels responded, “The Jackson Center has made this a proud place for us to be again.”
This comment was incredibly moving to me: the idea that our collective work has had a role in folks feeling pride in their continued part in making history, a history we have the privilege to witness and are so blessed to learn about and participate in together.
The photographs and images from this quarter tell the story: 1) Our housewarming party, where over a hundred folks gathered for food, fellowship, and the celebration of our new space. Mrs. Jackson gave the housewarming blessing and Minister Campbell stated, “This is what diversity looks like!” 2) Our civil rights workshops, in which hundreds of youth ranging from 1st grade up to college were not just learning about history but were interacting with the very people who took part in that history. 3) Our community organizing work, in which neighbors continue to implement strategies that utilize our collective power to bend this real estate market and make all feel welcomed here at the same time, 4) Home repair work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, in which we have mobilized hundreds of volunteers—students and long-term neighbors—to help repair the homes of the very people who have given their lives to our community for generations. 5) Mr. Bynum embracing his grandson, Cameron, after Cameron performed a spoken word piece inspired by Mr. Bynum’s oral history at a Jackson Center/Sacrificial Poets event in December—an event that showcased the ways students were being transformed by the histories they were hearing.
This quarter has been filled with oral history performances and community gatherings, history tours by local civil rights leaders for hundreds of middle school students, wills clinics to ensure dozens of residents preserve family and community assets, radio shows on the prison system and female rappers, and so much more. Most importantly, it’s been filled with the formation and renewal of relationships that are the crux of any work of justice in our communities.
As we approach our annual MayDay festival – a time when hundreds in our community gather for food, fellowship, history-making and witnessing– I hope you will join us as we celebrate another year of the strengthening of the very fabric of beloved community that continues to inspire and deepen our work. We hope to see you here: May 3rd, 11 am-3 pm.