Arcata’s Farmers Market had an interesting spin last weekend due to the work of two passionate and creative Social Work graduate students at Humboldt State University.
Face-painting, books, and representation from various organizations in the local community was mixed in within Arcata’s weekly farmers market for ‘Diversity Day’ on the plaza, hosted by Amy Mathieson and Erin Youngblood-Smith.
“I liked the fact that anyone could read a children’s book written by an author of color as they were swinging on big tree branches and I liked the feeling of safety and mellow vibes that getting to know people brought,” said HSU alumni Alex Bland. “Everyone there is doing amazing work that benefits everyone in Arcata/Humboldt.”
Amy Mathieson and Erin Youngblood-Smith have worked on a project to not only culminate their graduate work at HSU, but to help bridge divides between various communities in Arcata. Together, they created the ‘We Are Your Community’ campaign.
‘Diversity Day’ on Arcata’s Plaza was one component of their campaign.
“We Are Your Community is a media based campaign that is seeking to build bridges between Humboldt State students of color and community members. Students of color are bravely sharing their stories in order to increase diversity and equity in Humboldt County.
We Are Your Community is hosting Diversity Day at the Arcata Farmer’s Market May 5 from 9am to 2 pm. This event will feature organizations who represent people of color, musicians of color, and cultural demonstrations. Please join us as we engage and learn from one another!
This is a wonderful way for you to be involved in promoting diversity and inclusion in your community. Thank you for all of your support!”
Centro Del Pueblo, a local grassroots organization focusing on the rights of undocumented immigrants locally, have been gathering signatures for three months for a ballot measure. With the ballot measure they hope to ensure that local resources, funds, as well as ‘voluntary joint task forces,’ will not be used to assist in ICE raids and that local communities will not be targeted for immigration detainment.
Brenda PM, a Centro Del Pueblo organizer, relayed that she appreciated the work of Mathieson & Youngblood-Smith but felt that the farmers market was not welcoming to the cause and community that she represents. She was asked to stop collecting signatures on the Plaza.
“It’s painful being diverse on the plaza. I feel like I have to shut my mouth and be censored. I don’t like these rules they have over diversity.”
Shelly is originally from Richmond, VA and has been participating in the farmers market since 1999. She says that the North Coast Growers Association which heads Arcata’s Farmers Market, recently developed a strategic plan and established diversity as one of their main goals.
“We want to be a venue within the community to highlight the diversity we have and to foster it,” she said. “It’s kind of cool that this is sort of fitting in with what we are trying to do anyway so it’s exciting.”
Check out more photos from ‘Diversity Day’ below:
Mathieson and Youngblood-Smith both receive their MSW’s from HSU tomorrow. Congratulations ladies and continue to be the change we wish to see in the world.