Located in the heart of Lincoln Heights, a community garden is growing peace and prosperity, a necessary symbol of hope, for residents and friends.
When I first visited the community garden, I didn’t know what to expect. The first thing I noticed upon my arrival was the faded old green iron gates in front that protected the large white house. In between the house and the gate laid the front garden, overgrown with bushes and tree tops that need serious maintenance.
When I arrived to the front porch, I noticed the house looked as if it was going through some modification adjustments since the painting on the house looked fresh. As I made my way up the front steps, I also noticed there were things like boxes and chairs and garden tools still lying about.
As I approached the front door, a dog behind the door’s fence greeted me first. Then the next person who greeted me from the door was Father Tom, a priest from across the street at the Church of Epiphany.
After the brief exchanged introduction, Father Tom and I headed to the community garden as he explained to me that the South East Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) who created the garden, and him are partners in the project. Father Tom told me the mission of the garden “was to get the Asian and the Latino population in the Lincoln Heights’ community to communicate with each other.”
When he told me this, I was and am still shocked at this claim. How can a large co-existing population, Asian and Latino, here in Lincoln Heights not communicate with each other?
We all live, eat, shop, and party within the same community. True, our native tongue may be foreign from one another and the type of food we eat might have small variations, but the bottom line is that we’re all human beings who must depend on each other to survive in this small part of town that’s connected to the larger city that makes up Los Angeles.
Maybe I’m blowing this claim up into a larger than life proportion. Maybe Father Tom’s claim simply means to see two large co-existing population in the community become more involved with each other’s daily activities and become more aware of one another’s cultural practice. If, however, that’s the case, I think Father Tom would also not mind if I add in that all other populations in the community who are not mentioned should also take part in this social gathering so we can develop a larger, enriched and diverse aware community of people.
This need of awareness couldn’t have come at a better time than its apparent reflection from the community garden itself.
After Father Tom opened the gate, and led me into the garden, I noticed that most of the garden plots on the left region was filled with the gardeners’ work; every plot on that area had its fill, expect for the plots in middle and far right.
Those plots that have yet to have its fill continues to echo Father Tom’s words of having people come together – and it also rings up a reminder to us all, as commuters, in any community, that we all need to learn how to stay connected with others within the community so to share a common interest in order to develop, nurture, and strengthen a relationship bond that would be difficult to break apart.
After I left the garden, and thanked Father Tom for his help, I couldn’t help but think to myself now that if we as a group of people in this community can come together and understand what we all accept as our common goal and have a plan to move us forward from our current position, we can all succeed together as individuals since we know how to work as a group. And if I may make an analogy with the community’s garden to the people in the community: they both require time and energy to develop, grow well and strong, and they also need proper maintenance, otherwise they’ll grow out in chaos and cause unnecessary problems.
Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s post!
Note: The Lincoln Press blog will post its next story this Thursday, October 6.