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 July 25-27

The street will be closed in front of 1222 Sholar Ave. from 12:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Friday for Jesus Fest. ML King Blvd. between Broad St.and Georgia Ave. and Market St. between East 8th St. and East 10th St. will be closed from 5:30 p.m. to midnight on Friday for the Nightfall Concert Series.  The 800 block of Cherry St. will be closed at ML King Blvd. and will only ... (click for more)

Marietta Hosts Distinguished Young Women Of Georgia State Finals

The Distinguished Young Women of Georgia Scholarship Program announced that it will welcome the Class of 2015 to Marietta this Sunday for the State Finals Week. Twenty-four young women from around the state will compete for $13,000 in college scholarships and a year of representing the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of Georgia for 2015.  The ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Requests For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (3)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)