Speaking Up

June 8, 2020

When I was an adult–because I’m a senior now–I used to complain about a lot of things in the city. About sanitation, how dirty it was. About some of the stores that charged a lot or more so in our neighborhoods. And there was just a lot of things I would just complain about to my neighbor. We would sit out and we will all complain about different things.

I said, instead of me complaining because it’s not going anywhere except from my mouth to somebody else, I said, I might as well just try to do something about it. So I joined the Community Board in our area.

From there, I was able to like speak more one-on-one with the politicians and with the different agencies to find out that a lot of things are not a quick fix. Some things take time and some things take education. And some things take time. When you see a lot of litter on the streets but you see a garbage can right there, that means people didn’t make it to the garbage cans and just certain things is awful.

Certain things in sanitation–they could pick up more, you know for certain things it’s like a twofold. Sometimes you have to look at yourself when you complain about a lot of things and just see what part did you do. So just by joining the board, and I’ve been on the board for over five years now, I speak to the politicians to hear their side of different things. So it’s like a give and take. It’s not like one solution is going to solve everything. Just constant, constant education and communication with the community, back and forth. So it’s a back and forth thing. Sometimes when you complain about a lot of things, I guess like Michael Jackson said you got to look in the mirror. You’ve got to look at that person in the mirror and see what you’re doing or what you’re not doing.

So I’ve learned that the city is big and it’s alright, it’s trying, you know, it’s doing can do, with the people that’s there and with the people that we have in office. We all got to do our part. So that’s what I learned. And that’s when I spoke up when I saw things that was wrong. The solution is not easy, but there is a solution, individual solutions from people that can help that live here.

I joined the parks committee. It had to do the parks in our neighborhood. So I said, “Well, the parks committee is pretty good. So, I mean, we need to have more funding for parks or more exercise equipment and more things for the people,” and then they threw us into something. A problem that they had in parks. A matter of fact it’s in PSS. It’s in Marcus Garvey Park. So we were thrown into the controversy, where we had drummers. People who drummed. We called them drummers and that’s where their platform was for years and years.

Growing up, you could always go to Marcus Garvey Park and hear the drummers. But then as the area changed and you got co-ops and buildings and stuff that’s around the park, some people thought what we call them music was noise. That was a big issue. About the noise that some people claim was coming from the area, and then other people claim was music. And that music was there. Sometimes before you move in to an area you should know what’s there or what type of flavor. You should know the flavor of the community before you move in. And then all of a sudden you want to change something.


So there was plenty of meetings between the parks commissioner, between the politicians, between the neighborhood residents. It was plenty of meetings, back and forth. Just to try to solve the problem. And I believe the drummers got a big new area inside the park, along with the amphitheater. They got a different area put up a small in the park. It’s supposed to be a beautiful area that they could drum, I guess, without the noise emanating, you know, onto the avenue. They had a big ceremony. They had the Indian elders and African elders bless the new site and they had a whole ceremony on this new site, and the stuff that the parks put out for them.

So they are still there, but I heard that some of them are still at their original site because that was their site. That was the site that their parents was there. So, some of them still, you know, go, you know, still play out there. So that’s just one thing that’s like a given take to the neighborhood.

That involved a lot of people and it was a problem but it got solved with a new site, but the original site is where people still want to go because that’s where they were. So it’s kind of like a give and take. With the community and with everything, there is give and take.