9/11 Never Forget Community Action Garden
The University at Buffalo Honors College is planning a 9/11 day of service in collaboration with the None Like You/We Care Community Block Club on the East side of Buffalo. We will Bring 50 University Honors College students, all working on semester long service projects, to the East side to help the block club put in a new garden in a vacant lot (corner of Sycamore and Johnson) just recently turned over to the community by the city. The lot will be transformed into a 9/11 "Never Forget" community action garden. Adorned with flags commemorating those lost, the garden will be a tribute to the spirit of togetherness and community involvement which allowed for physical and emotional rebuilding following the attack on our nation.
The struggles that Mrs. Triggs, the founder and president of the block club, faced in obtaining the vacant lot from the city were recently highlighted in a front page article in the Buffalo News. (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/buffalo/article444355.ece) I believe that Mrs. Triggs efforts and the efforts of her entire organization exemplify the ways in which people can overcome obstacles and come together to rebuild community. The community has decided to come together to do something about the deterioration of their neighborhoods and have rallied around Mrs. Triggs. With our support this new community garden can serve as a permanent reminder of a time when the community came together to take a negative aspect of their neighborhood and turn it into a vestige of patriotism and pride.
We also believe that bringing our UB Honors students into this neighborhood will make them more aware of difference and more dedicated to understanding diversity. The neighborhood where the community action garden is being placed is located in a low SES community. Many university students do not realize the privilege of their own education and the struggles of the less fortunate.
Aside from 50 Honors students, ages 18-20, slated to attend we will also be sending out a description of this event to freshman colloquium students who are already working on poverty, housing, or urban education related service projects. In addition, Mrs. Triggs community club has agreed to utilize their vast network of volunteers to reach out to youth in the community that may want to participate.
This day of service presents local officials with a great opportunity to demonstrate their support for engaged citizens who are attempting to beautify, organize and otherwise rebuild their communities. Senator Schumer's office has already committed to sending two representatives to our event and we expect many more local officials to follow suit. We have currently appealed to the local common council member, the county legislature, federal representatives Slaughter and Higgins, state senators, and the UB President to encourage them to attend our event.
- Transform an overgrown vacant lot, littered with trash and dangerous items, into a source of patriotism and community pride for the East Side of Buffalo.
- Get UB Honors students off campus and into the city to apply the knowledge they have learned to better the community in which they live.
- Involve local officials and media to not only bring to light the problems being faced by our communities but more importantly to highlight the heroic efforts of the individuals and groups that constantly strive to improve our city.
- Teach our students and young people in the community about the spirit of community togetherness and the power of group action which were so vital to the physical and emotional rebuilding after the events of 9/11.