a city park since the 1950's
As the founder of Friends of April Hill Park, I feel it is important to recognize and address how fortunate our community is to have a neighborhood park. The park was created in the 1950’s as parents saw the need for an open space for their children. They wanted to give their children a place to play, with no fear of being harmed or feeling unwelcome. I want to ensure that this remains true for ALL visitors to April Hill Park.
Recently the Friends of April Hill Park, with a Metro grant, was able to have a boardwalk and new trails built, with the idea that everyone who visits is safe. When we built the boardwalk, our safety concerns focused on keeping pedestrians from slipping and assuring plants and wildlife were safe from being trampled. And I have to admit, my privilege didn’t allow me to think of other safety concerns, ones that dealt with keeping people of color feeling safe in our park. I was shocked by the recent video of Cristian Cooper, a man simply out enjoying nature, and had the police called on him because he was black. He was targeted because he was a black man and a white woman decided he was in the wrong place.
Trails, playing field and playground are for everyone. We must make sure our park is a place where all of our neighbors can feel welcome. It is a place for everyone to learn about nature, enjoy being outdoors and a place to meet new and old friends.
Friends of April Hill Park is committed to supporting those who are demanding justice and change. We are educating ourselves on the intersection where environmentalism and social justice collide. We have work to do. It can be uncomfortable, but it is needed. The only way we will see change is to change our ways of thinking. Please take the time to read these important articles on this topic. Let’s get started and involved.
Leigh Thomas, Vogue Why every Environmentalist should be Anti-Racist
The Joys and Challenges of Exploring Nature While Black
Black Birders Week’ Promotes Diversity and Takes on Racism in the Outdoors
We want to hear from you on how we can make the park safe for everyone, especially for our Black Community.
Jill Gaddis, Founder
Friends of April Hill Park
The mission of Friends of April Hill Park is to protect the natural wetland and wildlife located within April Hill Park while celebrating the park as an enjoyable and safe community space for ALL residents.