Gandhi Visits Alton Park, A “Forgotten Community”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, visited the Alton Park community to encourage the people there in their efforts toward peace and nonviolence. 

“It is a forgotten community,” as Dr. Elenora Woods, D.D.S., and executive director of the Alton Park Community Development Corporation calls it. “But we have big plans for Alton Park.”

While the rest of the city of Chattanooga is being revitalized all around, Alton Park seems to have missed the efforts and is organizing in a call for help as they try to emerge from the devastation left by the city’s “industrial revolution.” 

Poverty. Illiteracy. Lack of Jobs. Respiratory Illnesses. Cancer. Gang Violence. These are all challenges Alton Park residents are working together with Alton Park Development Corporation to address through environmental revitalization, said officials.

Mr. Gandhi reminded the community members that “The worst form of violence is poverty” and that if they can work together to address issues of poverty offering residents education and job opportunities, and developing the community gardening program, as they are now doing, these are the first steps toward building peace and nonviolence.

Alton Park Development Corporation is currently working with permaculturalists Jason Hurd and Rushelle Frazier and a master gardener Horace Hatcher to develop a plan for eight-acres of “Regenerative Agriculture” including community gardens, box gardening classes for children and their parents, fruit and nut trees, cash crops, and the newest urban gardening method—aquaponics—developed by the U.S. government to address issues of hunger in third world countries and now taking off in American’s own urban environment.

Ultimately, Dr. Woods wants to see the agriculture skills acquired by community members not only to feed themselves and their children but also to become sources of income through farm stands and produce wagons. 

Alton Park Development Corporation is one of three local partners of Global Action Initiatives Alliance, including nationally recognized boys school McCallie which partnered with GAIA's Boyz Inc. for their community service during a boys leadership camp last summer and recent Gandhi Visit for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. GAIA also partners with Washington Alternative School which participated in “Season for Nonviolence” workshops in 2013 and a recent Gandhi Visit and visioning for peace and nonviolence. Ultimately, GAIA hopes to connect all three local partners in work across the county, in what GAIA calls "Communities of Concern."

Gandhi Global Center for Peace is a core initiative GAIA will be working with Arun Gandhi to develop. GAIA CEO Missy Crutchfield says the vision for the Global Center for Peace is to partner with schools and community centers around the world to further Gandhi’s legacy of peace and nonviolence. “Why not start here, in my backyard?” she added. “That’s where real peace work has to begin anyway.” 

Mr. Gandhi shared as his visit in Chattanooga concluded, “When working for peace you need to look at all the aspects of violence and what contributes to it. Economic depression is part of the culture of violence we as a society have created. All of these issues comprising the culture of violence will be addressed by the Gandhi Global Center for Peace.”

Learn more at www.gaiaworldwide.org

Special Event Street Closures August 21-24

Riverfront Pkwy. between Aquarium Way and Power Alley, the Veterans Bridge ramp to Riverfront Pkwy., Chestnut St. between Aquarium Way and Riverfront Pkwy., and Power Alley from the parking lot to Riverfront Pkwy. will be closed from 1 p.m. on Thursday until 8 p.m. on Sunday for the Southern Brewer’s Festival. ML King Blvd. between Broad St. and Georgia Ave. and Market St. between ... (click for more)

Reflections Gallery Has Literary Art Show Aug. 28-Oct. 23

Reflections Gallery at 6922 Lee Hwy. will persent Literary Art, a fine art show celebrating books and their readers, Aug. 28-Oct. 23.  The exhibit features local artists and crafts people with altered books, sculpture, painting, photography and more used to illustrate the world of the bibliophile. There will be a free opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 4-7 p.m. ... (click for more)

5 Hamilton County Schools Designated As Priority Schools, 3 As Focus Schools

Five Hamilton County Schools have been designated as Priority Schools and three as Focus Schools. Priority Schools are the five percent of schools across the state with the lowest overall performance. Those from Hamilton County are Brainerd High School, Dalewood Middle School, Orchard Knob Elementary School, Orchard Knob Middle School and Woodmore Elementary School. Focus ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Twice On Wilson Street; He Won't Help Police

A teen who was shot twice on Wilson Street shortly after midnight said he would not help police. At approximately 12:08 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a call of a person shot at 1812 Wilson St. Chattanooga Police officers and EMS located Nathaniel Williams, 18, suffering from two non-life threatening gunshot wounds.  The victim was transported to Erlanger Hospital ... (click for more)

The Truth About Justice

The rallying cry in Ferguson Missouri has been "justice for Michael Brown." The question is what is justice? Justice is that the facts of the case are investigated thoroughly and regardless of the outcome of that investigation the family and friends of Michael Brown along with the citizens of Ferguson and this country need to accept the outcome no matter what it reveals.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chief Delmore: ‘You Blew It!”

Far more than 50,000 people, most police officers and law enforcement authorities, have gone to a website, “LawOfficer.com” to read a scathing letter that first appeared on Sunday. Veteran lawman Ed Delmore, who became the Police Chief in Gulf Shores, Ala., after a brilliant career as the “Top Cop” in St. Louis (which he still loves) has written what was entitled, “An Open Letter ... (click for more)