The Banner’s recent editorial on recognition for Elma Lewis was insightful, provocative and constructive (“Destroying a legacy,” March 12, 2009). To select a proper way to honor this outstanding woman who had such an impact on Boston’s creative and cultural life is crucial.
The Elma Lewis School was one of the first institutions to welcome me when my family moved to New England in 1972 and I became the chair of the Music Department at Tufts University. Later, I became a member of the school’s board.
It was through my association with Ms. Lewis and fellow artists that I learned of Ms. Lewis’ dreams for the National Center of Afro American Artists (NCAAA). The work of Edmund Barry Gaither, executive director and curator of the Museum of the NCAAA, has been outstanding. Its success is only one step in the chain of events that has to occur for us in the recognition of the historical artistic achievement of the American experience.
Ms. Lewis has given us the blueprint. Her legacy lives in the lives of the people of Roxbury and beyond. One hopes that this opportunity to honor, respect and create a living memorial is realized. I sincerely hope that the proposed cultural center comes to fruition.
T.J. Anderson, Ph.D., D.Mus., AAAL
Austin Fletcher Professor of Music Emeritus
Congratulations on choosing to plant a food garden on the White House grounds. Now imagine it being tended by Washington, D.C., youth! Give young people the opportunity to contribute to their community by growing food for the hungry and caring for the land. The Food Project has been doing this for almost 20 years in the Boston area. It’s a great way to show youth across the country that the fruits of their labor can create change.
Teens from across the district could, as a team, plant the seeds of cooperation, community and pride as they grow, harvest and distribute the bounty of their shared labor. We believe in the ability to inform a new generation of leaders by placing teens in responsible roles with meaningful work.
The Food Project has been guided by the belief that community is created by providing common ground. We celebrate collaboration, cooperation and the value of a hard day’s work. A White House garden tended by teens from across the city’s social, racial and economic spectrum can inspire a nationwide youth movement.
When young people experience the value of labor and service while building a community, they discover and develop talents, make friends and test themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Inviting youth to serve and take risks offers a chance to see themselves and the world differently, and encourages the same in each volunteer, neighbor and friend. Thank you.