three stories in one

Hello. welcome back to whatever this is. anyways in the last month+ or so there has been lots going on. so trying to explain it all in a brief summary, without to much personal opinion and critical thinking.

  1. We went to Baton Rouge with a PDA trip to help the flooded houses of Baton Rouge. The floods happened back in August and we went down in April. In that period of time, the houses have been mucked out and many have been slowly repaired. We worked with a group called rebuilding baton rouge together. They work with one street at a time, and help rebuild the whole street, working with groups, Americorps and trusted contractors to help complete homes that have experienced flooding. We worked in an area called Merrydale and the group worked on the painting the interior and bottom floor boards around the house we were in. The PDA group was from Missouri and the usual age demographic of Presbyterians.  We spent the time at College Presbyterian right next to LSU. It really is a quite beautiful and huge.  The town of Baton Rouge is an interesting mix of everything that make a city. The city is roughly divided into two with a street called Florida. We worked on the north side of town and there wasn’t much evidence of flood, but once inside the houses, everything was new house material from 5 feet down. Because the flood happened nine months ago, each house had something different in them,  as they tried to rebuild without help from a group or organization. There were many stories of hope, courage and strength from the two streets that we helped. There was also a great bbq during Friday, and a lot of community involvement.
  2. Death row: Arkansas is/has set itself to kill 7 death row inmates in a week. In lieu of this, we watched Paradise Lost about the West Memphis Three. Three boys were killed and three teenagers were accused of killing them in 1993. You should watch the movie, as its a court documentation of the trial and how…flawed it was. Looking at it now it seemed so flawed of a court case and the entire justice system was stacked against the boys based on one flimsy confession of one of the boys . They were sentenced life in prison and Damion Eckles was on death row at the age of 18. They were released in 2010 with an Alens Plea stating they were guilty but they remained that their weren’t guilty. There have been many different opinion on the matter of guilty or innocent based on how people view them.  Anyways. We got to meet one of the WM3, Jason and have lunch with him and pick his brain about what he was upto now. He currently resides in Houston and is going for his law degree after getting out of prison in 2010. He spoke to us about his life, the trouble with mass incarceration, and several other things(his love for heavy rock and roll). We then went to the state capitol for the march against the executions scheduled for the week. Also there, was Damion, another of the WM3, he gave a speech to the crowd about being on death row and the injustices he faced. Along with him was Johnny Depp. So that makes meeting/seeing a total of three famous people I got to see in a mater of hours, which makes Arkansas currently the top state I’ve seem famous people at. As a side note, I think the justice system needs to have better outside audits to make sure things like the WM3 trials and appeals dont end up stalled out and leaving the possibly innocent people in jail. Anyways. Figure out your own view points on issues like this but take care to look at all the facts before rushing to a judgement.
  3. Georgia, the YAV retreat, and civil rights museums. We just got back from the southeast yav retreat down in Georgia at a farm community called Quininia. It was started in the 40’s allowing all people to come and work in equality. It was also the start of Habitat for Humanity and the main location is a few miles up in a a town called Americus. It was really good to hang out with fellow YAVs and here about how their sites are going. Also knowing that they are going through some of the same community issues and strength was a nice chance to be able to talk to them. We learned of Quininia’s involvement in precivil rights issues and community for all during our time there, also their farm and Pecans Orchards were nice to tour. Albany is just south of the farm, and Saturday we traveled to the civil rights museum. Albany was one of the first towns to protest for civil rights and equal treatment among races. Being in the deep south, the KKK was a constant battle and threat with their intimidation tactics to everyone involved in helping African Americans gain rights. On sunday we traveled back and spent the day in Birmingham Alambama, where we went to the civil rights museum there. It is located next to the 14th Avenue church that was bombed killing 6 poeple in total, 4 of them girls. The next day we went to Memphis, besides great chicken, we went to see the National Civil Rights Museum. The location is were MLK was shot and the hotel has been renovated into the museum. This civil rights museum tied all of the other museum’s together and focused on the broader picture that was created through civil rights. This trip was incredibly valuable for its relaxing with the YAVS but also through the learning that we got to experience
    As a bonus we got to go to Jimmy Carters Sunday school and got to stand next to him and  his wife and take a picture.
  4. Also. The farm is going well, stuff got blown down as we where coming back from the Baton Rouge trip, but its mostly been cleaned up. We got chickens now, and more ducks, beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, beets, carrots, egg plant, and alot of other stuff is going in the garden and coming out. Happy garden. Overtasked chris.



5.Have a good time.




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