Blog, Burton St

Burton Street Community Peace Gardens: Essential Healing and Listening Space

We’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign for maybe the most important solar project ever. It won’t be the biggest by any stretch but there’s no doubt its impact will amplify the power of this special place. The Burton Street Community Peace Gardens has been a place for absorbing trauma and for healing for a long time. It’s a place where community members grow healthy food, engage in a variety of educational and creative activities, and now, the gardens will add solar power to its technologies of existence [1].

I’m an Asheville, North Carolina native and care very much about what’s going on there now. Throughout the 1990’s, gentrification has had undesirable effects even though the town’s national image has grown in stature over the years since I moved away in 1972. Some people and communities have been “pushed to the curb” and left out of the “progress” and that bothers me. Rural folk and communities of color who’ve been around for generations are the one’s I’m talking about. George Floyd’s horrific murder and the mobilizing touchpoint “Minneapolis” has become nationwide seem to be giving us a multi-ethnic clarity we’ve lacked, even though “Minneapolis” has been an enduring lived experience, sadly, for too many.

Anyway, here’s one of the Burton Street community leaders speaking to this moment of injustice and hope, conveying through spoken word and theatrical mode what a vision for the future looks like. We’re all looking for hope now, and out of the Peace Gardens comes this perspective:

“the world is a grand opportunity to create, inspire and connect, but we gonna have to learn to dream together and reimagine what we want to see, not what we fear.”

These are DeWayne Barton’s own authentic words and expression, which you can see and hear for yourself:

Please donate to this project in solidarity with the Burton Street community. We realize some folks aren’t able to contribute, especially in these times, but you can help spread the word. Word of mouth, forwarding this link, posting this to your social media feeds…anyway you can get this story out in your networks. If you can donate, here’s an opportunity to ask yourself “what can I do…” and see the tangible results. We’d like to do this in other communities too. Help us pioneer. Thanks.

Please contribute if you can. Help make the road. THANK YOU!


[1] Appalachian State University anthropologist Dana Powell coined that term, and I’ve always liked it. Certainly it’s consistent with Gardens founder DeWayne Barton’s definition of resilience which is “making a way out of no way.” In case you’re interested, here’s the source of the phrase:
Powell, D. Technologies of Existence: The indigenous environmental justice movement. Development 49, 125–132 (2006).

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