Holden Forests & Gardens condemns the violence against Black Americans and other people of color that causes them to be unsafe in outdoor spaces and in our communities.
Our vision is that all communities will be transformed into vibrant places where trees, plants, and people thrive. We acknowledge that public gardens and arboreta have not historically been places where Black visitors and other people of color have felt welcomed and safe.
As we reopen the Holden Arboretum and, soon, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, we pledge to cultivate spaces that provide safety and respite to all visitors. We commit to protecting our visitors, particularly people of color, against bias and harassment at our campuses.
Our staff has been especially touched by this poem by Ross Gay that identifies how racial justice intersects deeply in our work:
A Small Needful Fact
Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.
In these times of pandemic and political unrest, we believe in the healing properties of nature and the right of all people to safe and accessible outdoor spaces.
With great respect,
The Team at Holden Forests & Gardens