Our 2nd Annual Throw Down for the Town: Oakland Service Festival is fast approaching. With over 30 projects confirmed for the day and a community festival with Oakland’s very own hip-hop artist Mystic performing in the afternoon, we are all excited about what the day will bring. Suzanne Ludlum, Mystic’s mother, is leading a service project at Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard.
“I know the garden my mom is working on is very dear to her heart. Food justice and education should be bigger issues in our communities than they currently are,” says Mystic.
Ludlum says she was inspired to host an event at Throw Down because it is a way to align the Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard with community struggles for economic and social justice. Throw Down “is a good way for people who live near 105th and E Street to learn about Ella Baker's work in the community,” she adds.
“The garden serves as a living laboratory for school age children and their parents on the Stonehurst campus. In this garden, families can learn the science of soil, the food cycle, and their place in the web of life – plus learn how to grow their own food and herbs organically,” says Ludlum.
Ludlum says that we are at a “tipping point on this planet” and communities living with limited resources will be hit the hardest with climate change, in fact, “they already are.” Stonehurst Garden will serve as a way “to unify and grow food together, to build out local networks to sustain us, and to build resilient communities.”
To Mystic, it makes “perfect sense” that her mom is leading a service project. “She is a beautiful example of what love in action looks like. Much of my sense of commitment to the community comes from the way that my mom raised me and the awareness that she helped to foster within me.”
The overall outcomes of service, she says is not something that can truly be measurable: “Being of service helps to strengthen bonds. Whether those bonds are to each other or our communities, bonding is critical.” That’s exactly what Throw Down is all about.
After a day of citywide service, Mystic hopes that people will learn more about different parts of their communities and more about what is happening in Oakland.
Later in the afternoon, “people should expect to smile and feel a strong sense of togetherness” during her performance in Snow Park.
“There is so much trauma and struggle in our communities, but there is also so much beauty and love…the possibilities in Oakland are unlimited if we move forward collectively,” Mystic says.
Join us on June 28th and Throw Down for the Town and help Oakland thrive. Sign up now to join Suzanne, Mystic, and the Ella Baker Center for Throw Down for the Town: The Oakland Service Festival.
Zakiya Scott is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina who is currently the Communications and Social Media Intern at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.