By A’leah Bashir-Bagee, Tearsey Em and Sandra Muniz, YAB members
April 20, 2013 marked the nationwide Earth Day Celebration, where people, businesses, and community organizations all band together to celebrate the earth. Community greening and clean-up events took place all over the Bay Area.
The City of Oakland hosted a clean-up event at DeFremery Park located in West Oakland at 18th and Adeline. Starting bright and early, 30 to 40 community members arrived ready to get dirty. I was assigned to a group who worked on making the DeFremery Park sign prettier. For about thirty minutes, the group removed weeds and old grass, then raked the dirt smooth while removing excess debris around the sign. My favorite part of course was planting the flowers. We had lots of perennials and other garden flowers to plant. Friday following the event, I made my way to dance class near the park and got to see what I and others had planted. It really makes a difference to the community to add some spark or life next to a concrete sign. Now every time I walk by, I can see what I did on Earth Day 2013.
In East Oakland, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) hosted a ‘Clean Up, Green Up’ Action Day at Tassafaronga Recreation Center to clean up East Oakland neighborhoods and plant trees and native plants. The event that took place was very interesting and opened my eyes. It was surprising to see such a beautiful recreation center/park in the neighborhood. It was also astounding to see the range of ages that were there for the event and we found it a refreshing sight to see. The ambitious energy that everyone had inside them was almost like there was a whole army of fighters that fought with a sense of justice. We worked with a group who decided to walk to San Leandro to grow poppies. The seeds we were given were really cool because we didn’t need tools to plant them. We just had to water the soil and pick a spot on the ground to throw the seeds in. With little effort, we can make a huge difference. Having one day where we take the time to actually appreciate the Earth is something that everyone can do.