On October 7, 2017, Red Bank Artist Lisa Bagwell led a River Clean Up and EcoArt Workshop as part of the Raíces Cultural Center Water Is Life Project. Although a beautiful group of about 20 eco-warriors came together that day to tackle the litter problem on just a small section of the banks of the Raritan River, it would be incorrect to say it was a great day, or a fun day, or a successful day. Really, the day was heartbreaking, and we experienced wave after wave of sadness as we gathered yet another bag of garbage from our local river’s banks. The feelings I felt would only be explained later through the storytelling reflections on the project by our director, and my friend, Francisco G. Gómez.
The heartbreak we felt during this project for the true ecological catastrophe we were witness to as we removed as much plastic, foam, and other debris from the banks of the Raritan River as we could was alleviated just a little bit by the positive energy of the volunteers who came out and the willingness to work together on a project meant to raise awareness within our wider community. The river fish that were created with the art collected are currently hanging on the awning of Blank Space Highland Park and will remain there until the end of 2017. Go check them out if you haven’t seen them yet!
Thanks to artist Lisa Bagwell, Middlesex County Conservation Corps coordinator Griffith Boyd, and all of the volunteers, friends and community members who came out to lend a helping hand, to each and every one of you who shared to help spread the word about this project, and to the very many members of our community who do the endless work of water protectors and earth protectors every day.
#WaterIsLife #WaterProtectors #EarthProtectors #WeRise