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Flooded by Memories

I want to swim in Tar Creek ~ I want to fish in Tar Creek ~ I want to play in Tar Creek ~ Maybe someday

Tar Creek is my creek ~~ EPA won’t you please take those chat piles away…

2023 Youth Activist Camp created new banned to bring awareness to flooding

There is something special about the sound of children’s voices and the urge to join in with them in song one cannot resist. This song and another resounded both inside and outside during last week’s Youth Activist Camp.

This week is quiet at the LEAD Agency. The next Mondays will have Boys and Girls Clubbers coming to work in our Community Garden. But this week, only one child came and spent time while his mother representing the Anthropocene Alliance was captured by our issues and this place, taking time to visit not only our staff but also engaging with the City’s grant writer and the County’s Emergency Manager.

Anthropocene Alliance? A2 is what we have started calling that organization. One of their founders, Harriet Festing reached out several years ago wondering if we might have a need for funding to put up a billboard. That was the first assistance we received from the only national non-profit group working with communities dealing with disasters, beginning with flooding and later expanding to communities dealing with the complicated ways climate change is changing our world.

The next assistance we received from A2 was the possibility to work with AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange and with that process our Flood Map was developed. From that we were connected to the Climigration and Buy-In who designed the Flood Survey for Community members in our 100-year floodplain.

All of this happened because we trusted a stranger. We hope you will too.

Our Flood surveyors are knocking on doors and hoping to find you at home, but leaving a trail of cards in their wake, noting they had been there, but also leaving our number if you should want to call to discuss or take the survey over the phone. Many of you are completing the survey and the last question asks if you would like to participate in our oral history project: Air, Water and Work. Many of you are saying YES. Your stories are stacking up with us. The summer and fall will be filled with reaching back out to you. We are ready to listen. Your experiences shouldn’t be held as secrets. We believe the shared past this community has experienced is our history.

One of the men who shared his Work stories of his time at BF Goodrich with us last summer brought with him a piece of his families’ history. On several sheets of paper was an oral interview that was conducted in the 1930’s with one of his relatives, no longer living. The connection he had to the one who had gone on, made me understand more clearly the importance of listening and recording YOUR stories now. These will be the treasure your unborn will discover, too one day.

Over this last weekend, you may have been flooded with memories, since that last flood wasn’t that long ago. But Memorial Day gives us all pause to reflect and perhaps also visit the graves of our loved ones and remember their times with us. I was remembered by a former student who called to ask for a little help from Ms Jim. It had been a day since being called this way. But just that quickly I responded to offer what I could.

I hope you are remembered and in such a way be offered a chance to be the person you were remembered to be.

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim

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