We garden under blue lights
affixed to a 30 foot pole
the blue lights flash
our inner city acres.
Poet Karen Brau and artist Emily C-D will present a collection of “hopeful verses and watercolors about transforming blocks of Baltimore into greener spaces of grace.” The book is inspired by Ed Miller and his work in Baltimore neighborhoods for over 15 years.
Supported by the nonprofit Civic Works, Ed has led a Community Lot Team that has practiced gardening in areas the Urban Dictionary calls “Blue Light Districts”—places in Baltimore City where blue police lights cover the top of street lights in order to monitor crime and violence using cameras that record all street activity. The urban matrix of neighborhoods crumbling physically, families strained by slim economic opportunity, and ongoing violence makes for a turbulent existence in Blue Light Districts.
The Community Lot Team has made way in the midst of turbulence. Organizing people and physical resources in creative ways marks the Community Lot Team’s work. They listen to the wisdom and dreams of residents, unearthing the stories of the space. The team uses the means of gleaning, foraging, and sifting to gather materials that have been cast off—marble steps, cobblestones, iron grates, bricks—to work with neighbors to create new stories of beauty and promise together. Brick by brick, tree by tree, and person by person, Ed Miller brings forth the inherent beauty of a city that the blue lights would condemn as forsaken.