On June 16th, we attended a celebration honoring the completion of the Africatown Connections Blueway planning phase in Mobile, Alabama... We joined the Africatown-C.H.E.S.S. Community Organization, the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition, and the National Park Service and friends for an afternoon of story-telling, blessings from the community elders, dance, song, food and appreciation. After the opening ceremony and blessings, the community heard from Liz Smith of the National Park Service and watched as volunteers released the ceremonial wreath into the waterway from their kayaks. The celebration continued with song, dance, food and finally a second line to finish the day.
We set up a mini-balloon mapping demonstration for attendees who were not able to join the Blueway Mapping Workshop or the Map Knitting of Hog Bayou workshop back in October 2017. We shared a preview of the community microscope kit and connected attendees with the balloon and kite mapping kits for future mapping! Finally we shared knitted aerial maps of Hog Bayou!
The Blueway project's mission is "to preserve the natural spaces, habitat, and waterways of historic Africatown in Mobile, AL, Africatown State Park in Prichard, AL and the 10 miles of Chickasaw Creek, connecting the two, for the sustainability of healthy communities, educational enlightenment, and economic opportunities." Africatown was founded by the original group of Africans, who were illegally transported from West Africa aboard the slave ship Clotilde in 1860, after the abolition of the Atlantic Slave trade. This celebration was not only a tribute to the hard work of the Blueway project, but also a testament to transformative spirit of the people of Africatown.
It was wonderful to see such a great project come together with such an amazing group of organizers and community members. Looking forward to the next steps of the Blueway project!