Saturday, August 16, 2008

amend the jus soli

This is an exert from our latest meeting, notes taken by Kriti:

"We need to amend the soil, re-establish the planting grid, plant seeds and starts, put up PVC hoops, and put up plants that need vining. Kriti will bring aluminum foil and garden twine. Noah will bring shovels. As for amendments, Mikel will look into getting five 5-gallon samples of compost from the City of Durham. Beth and Yashna will both look into getting chicken manure. Mikel will ask Kia about getting the starts. Kriti and Noah will figure out what seeds to bring. Noah will look into saving eggplant seeds."

At our last meeting when Kriti said "we need to amend the soil". I had no idea what she was talking about, which is one reason I am participating here, to learn about gardening, about creating life. So, I asked Kriti, do what to the soil? Amend the soil, meaning to renew, replenish, add on to. Wow! That is beautiful! Wikipedia says that a "soil amendment is a material added to the soil to improve plant growth and health."

For some reason I am finding similarities in my naturalization process, the recent and horrible lash against undocumented (and often times documented) immigrants and my experience of gardening.

I am in process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. I am excited about this, and take this process very seriously. I am in the last stage and now just waiting to hear back for final approval and hopefully be able to take my oath soon. I have felt growing attachment to the US as my home and where I find pride, safety, security and honor. I have lived here for 26 of my 29 years, this is my home, it always has been (even without a piece of paper to prove it), and I hope that it always will be (with that piece of paper to prove it).

To become naturalized originally came from "jus soli" which means to become "right of the soil."

During this naturalization process I had a chance to brush up on my civics, and study for the naturalization test, and studied the Amendments again after a long time. There are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Amendments are changes made to something that needs to be altered. To make amends means to make up for something that was typically incorrect or wrong.

Every day in the the last few weeks I have cried. I have cried every day because I have heard, read or seen stories of people, yes people, not "aliens", not "illegals", but people, who have had there whole lives (and that of their families) shift in a second because of paper, skin color, religion, assumed nationality, or someone else's misguided hate or ignorance. This has made me unbearably sad, with tears flowing easily. If only I had a rain barrel for these tears to feed our garden with.

So, taken from our meeting notes, I would like to share these notes to my potentially new naturalized home, of the US, "we need to amend the soil..." we need to change the groundwork here y'all. We need to take out the old shit and bring in some fertile soil that encourages growth, not breaks life.

I stated earlier that the US, as my home, is where I find safety and security. I have had moments where I do not feel safe after the last few weeks where I have seen a blatant disregard to the Bill Rights, Amendments numbers 1, 4-8 and most importantly 9, unenumerated rights, or basic fundamental rights. I am calling upon the first amendment to be able to say that I am saddened by this tearing up of our garden called Durham, called NC, called USA, with blind eyes.

We need to make amends to the people we have hurt in this process, who are just trying to help our garden, our home, become more fruitful.

"We need to amend the soil and reestablish the planting grid..."

What does that look like for you?

(post by: ym)


lex said...

This is so beautiful, profound and true. Thanks for writing this sis. While reading this I was thinking about how much blood is in the soil here. Negatively in the sense of the unjust bloodshed that has made the US state what it is and also ironically, somehow positively. The depth of our relationships here, and our work and our sweat and our salty everything.

And I am grateful to be breaking ground, turning over soil and transforming the context of love, life and growth with you.

MaMa Nia said...

How Beautiful Love. I too have cried so much in the last few weeks. We need to amend the soil.
As I read this I also think about my own growth. I appreciate how lovingly we create together how much we love, how much we give and how often when we least expect it, we find ourselves depleted. Yet we, because of the family we are creating, have the ability to amend, replenish, and continue to grow. This is a luxury really, and I am grateful for this space. The world is very cruel right now, and it is hard for me to engage it. And so I take time to care for self, community, humanity, self, community, humanity, self, community, humanity...
Thank you