Support Anti-Racism Work
Supporting: Alice's Garden Urban Farm
Summer 2020 Fundraising Update - Sept '20
As part of a proposal in June from the newly formed Black Lives Matter (BLM) Committee of the Plymouth Justice Network (PJN), a sub-group of Plymouth’s Board of Outreach and Mission (BOOM), Plymouth was reminded that we at Plymouth Church are committed to creating a just world for all. “God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted,” we state in our Core Beliefs. And as CE (Christian Education) Chair Cate Phillips wrote, “... [O]ur actions need to be concrete and demonstrative because it is not up to our black and brown brothers and sisters to do all of this work — their burden is heavy enough already.”
Plymouth Church members discussed topics including the powerful protests occurring in our communities, the important work being done by organizations to end racism, Plymouth’s ongoing anti-racism and social justice work, and what we as a church should be doing in this unique moment to follow in the way of Jesus. The conversation turned repeatedly to the need to commit concrete resources — volunteer time and money — to organizations working to dismantle and address racism in our city through direct services and advocacy. The group came to the realization that rather than reaching out to form new partnerships, Plymouth needs to act — with a sense of urgency — on existing relationships.
One of the non-profit partners with whom Plymouth proposed to intentionally engage further was Alice’s Garden. Plymouth has had an informal relationship with Alice's Garden for many years. Executive Director Rev. Venice Williams, an ordained Lutheran minister, has been a guest preacher at Plymouth several times. Plymouth members are active as gardeners and herbal apprenticeship participants. The church, via BOOM, made a major donation to the water conservation project at Alice’s Garden and has taken up several collections including the 2019 Easter offering.
Through urban agriculture, Alice’s Garden is helping Milwaukee residents reclaim and celebrate food cultivation, preparation, and preservation as cultural arts. It is a space for the community to nourish body and soul, by growing their own food, walking a meditation labyrinth, doing yoga, and participating in programs and events. Making the connection between anti-racism work and urban agriculture, Health Policy Research Scholar Ashley Gripper writes: “Black agriculture provides a way to engage with the disturbing history of this country, that we live in a place built on stolen Indigenous land and the brutal enslavement and stolen labor of my ancestors. It opens the door to us understanding how this all shapes our collective journey toward liberation.”
The goal was that by August 15, 2020, we would raise funds to donate to Alice’s Garden to be used for building 16 Herbal Wellness Garden beds. The goal was at least $4,000, consisting of (1) at least $2,000 donated by individuals and (2) an additional $2,000 contributed by Plymouth UCC via BOOM funds.
Adding the BOOM funds to the amount collected, we were able to give just over $6,000 to Alice’s Garden. Thank you to everyone who donated!