By Zerline Hughes Spruill
We can’t tell the story of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Kenilworth Park without talking about our neighbors. There’s stories like Dennis Chestnut’s who recalls having ice cream socials at the park, formerly the Kenilworth Dump, just minutes after trash trucks picked them up from Briggs’ ice cream plant. And then there’s Julia Luthringer’s memories: venturing through the gardens as a child and being buried in the autumn leaves by her mother. Black history is threaded in the communities that make up Kenilworth. Their stories and experiences are why Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is dedicated to putting the needs and wants of residents in the forefront when putting together programs and activities. Activities like WELLderness which Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens birthed last year to offer a place of solace for our neighbors and surrounding visitors following instances of racial injustice and during the pandemic.
Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is committed to relationship building through collecting feedback and dedicating our efforts to community outreach by offering joyful programming giving priority to our community residents. We want to connect with our neighbors, host events so our neighbors can connect with other neighbors, and offer a place where even more Black history moments and memories can be made.
As the official partner to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a neighborhood national park, we want to share National Park Service’s Black History Month programming that further instills health, wellness and reflection. Check it out!
Developed by a group of NPS staff and interns, this film explores the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country.
In this companion to the aforementioned video, the creative team shares its approach and choices for the scenes, locations, and history. Together, the film and the companion guide serve as an opportunity to educate, motivate, and empower people from all walks of life to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors, cultivate personal connections with national parks and embrace parks as welcoming sources of health and healing.
This panel addresses present and historical barriers to outdoor access, current opportunities for engagement, as well as strategies to empower health connections to parks and public lands within the Black community. Learn more about the inspiration behind the roundtable series and tune into the February discussion by checking out the steps below!