Black Lives Matter to us at Sydenham Garden.
Our Community is diverse and we see first-hand how inequality and injustice can lead to black people being marginalised and forced into experiencing poverty, isolation and mental ill health.
A huge part of our work is about making nature, growing and art-making inclusive and accessible to everyone because we know that experiences of black and minority ethnic communities in the arts, horticulture and mental health services are often not good enough. Many commonly referenced plants and paintings tell stories of colonialism, racism and persecution. Horticultural history talks of heroic explorers, ‘discovering’ plants, which in reality have been grown, understood and used by indigenous and local communities for centuries.
We aim to continue to improve and diversify our service. For the past year, we have facilitated an African Caribbean specific group in partnership with Lewisham Community Wellbeing, where we are able to discuss black peoples’ experiences. Our Sow & Grow sessions for adults living with dementia are often joyous – filled with the rich diversity of life – stories, culture, songs and food.
We will find new ways of bringing black cultural history, knowledge and achievements to life in all of our projects. We will promote and encourage equality and diversity on our board, staff and volunteer teams and in our daily work. We will listen to our co-workers’ experiences, hopes and ideas. We will challenge racism. We will amplify the voices of black artists, gardeners and community members. We will keep this conversation alive so that change can and will happen.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.