5 Methods that Can Help to Heal the Angry Black Community!
Take a drive through any blighted urban inner-city or abandoned rural community and one hears the anguish of its people. These mostly minority neighborhoods, quite often African American, tell bleak stories of life in places that much of the nation chooses to forget. The even sadder reality is that those who are born, live and die in these areas might adopt a downtrodden outlook. Given that surroundings affect mentalities, the harsh aesthetics of impoverished African African communities can lead to longstanding negative effects among residents.
It is imperative for society to help bring a more positive outlook to every corner of America. Designers take great pains to create the most immaculate designs of ritzy golf courses, knowing full well that the landscape helps visitors and players feel positive about their experiences. Likewise, people can improve the public spaces of urban and rural “African America.” Those who live in these communities deserve to begin life with the best psychological perspectives possible.
City planners, politicians, activists and everyday people should all consider these five suggestions for healing long underserved communities.
1. Art Murals
Any artist from Diego Rivera to Jacob Lawrence to Jean-Michel Basquiat knows that their works invite viewers to think. Yes, the art in our environment implores us to consider our circumstances. Murals, in particular, can present the people who inhabit an area in a respectable light.
African Americans deserve heroic, resilience and conquering images of themselves on the walls of their communities. Children, with seeming naturality, will learn that they are among those who have overcome slavery, to build businesses, colleges and churches against almost insurmountable odds. Murals can take these stories out of the textbooks and make them accessible to all.
2. Poetry Murals
Images are not the only subjects of murals. Poems are also valuable as instructional and motivational tools. A prime way of helping heal the lack of confidence in some African Americans is by emblazoning the walls of their communities with the words written and spoken by their leaders.
Historically, preachers, lawyers and politicians have aroused the passions of the community. From Frederick Douglass to Booker T. Washington to Maya Angelou, the race has relied on words to transmit positive messages. Muralists can strategically place these quotes throughout troubled neighborhoods to help remind audiences of their past successes and future triumphs.
3. Flowers and Floral Landscaping
Just as with the aforementioned private golf course, public areas in neglected African American communities deserve rich, luxurious landscapings. Planners can improve grounds, left fallow for decades, by planting flowers that bloom in season. The cycle of re-birth of the community floral gardens will provide a subtle message of the same possibility of regeneration for the people.
4. Organic Fruit/Vegetable Gardens
One of the saddest realities of life in poor urban and rural communities, in general, and those of African Americans, in particular, is the lack of self sufficiency. In the past, these people, forced into slavery, had knowledge of planting food and raising livestock. Today, they, as is true with most Americans, depend almost entirely on stores to provide products. Ironically, the poor often pay more, despite receiving inferior goods.
It is time to plant organic fruits and vegetables that will put quality food on the tables of African Americans. Moreover, the communities will develop a positive can-do attitude, perhaps even forcing chain stores to improve their selections.
5. “Green” Parks
Last, but not least, one of the common themes globally among those who lack access to resources, whether financial, educational or political, is overcrowding, Quite simply, the “powerless” live in crowded areas.
All people need space to walk dogs, hold hands with a lover and picnic with their families. Parks in urban and rural minority communities need revitalization. When Teddy Roosevelt expanded the National Park System, he understood the importance of preserving land for Americans to spread out. Likewise, it is time for African Americans cooped up in apartments and houses to feel free to exert energy outside in the fresh air.
There is no panacea, or all-encompassing cure, for poverty, unemployment and crime. Nevertheless, these suggestions, in conjunction with other plans, can help eradicate the underlying problems wreaking havoc in many predominantly minority areas. There is no rule or law that the poor and politically marginalized must live in dilapidated environments.