Our little corner of the world became embroiled in controversy this week. The low chain-link fence at the corner of Old Arcata Road and Jacoby Creek Road has long been a sort of large-scale community bulletin board, announcing events, honoring graduates, recruiting for little league, and pointing the way to yard sales and open houses.
In early July, a Black Lives Matter banner was posted on the fence. It was later joined by other signs, one promoting peace, strength and resilience, and another advocating Defund Police – Abolish Prison – Respect Earth – Honor People (I may not have the actions on those last two exactly right, but the sentiments are).
These all co-existed, along with a congratulations to NPA graduates, announcement of the Bayside Hall brunch, and other messages, until July 29, when the Black Lives Matter sign was torn in half and the Defund-Abolish-Respect-Honor sign disappeared completely.
This started an unusually active chain of comments on the NextDoor site that exposes vast differences within our community on how we perceive ourselves and others: what is social justice, what is protected speech, what is inclusive vs what is divisive. These are the same conversations that are happening all across the country, writ small in our own community.
Actions can speak louder than words. Somehow, tearing that sign in half and leaving part of it sends a message that is so much more uncomfortable, (dare I say violent?) than simply removing it. Whether you agree with the original proposition or not, the response is very discomfiting.
So, let’s look at a more positive instance of actions in promotion of a cause. Along Old Arcata Road, on the right hand side as you head to Bayside Corners, just past Anderson Lane, is a private home with a remarkable offering in the front yard.
The sign reads “Solidarity – Not Charity” and is accompanied by a large stand offering fresh farm produce, plant starts, and other items for whoever needs them.
It is provided by the Farmer/Gardener Collective of Humboldt Mutual Aid which holds a free farm stand on Mondays, noon to 4 p.m., near the corner of 12th and M streets in Arcata.
Members of the collective are on hand at that time to answer questions about gardening, growing your own food, and so on.
The leftovers from the farm stand, and other items that individuals want to contribute, are taken to the Old Arcata Road location where they are available to anyone. Free. Just because.
Got some news from greater Bayside you’d like to share? Contact [email protected] or (707) 599-3192.