Community Control for Tibbett's Tail!
Parks Department locks out North Bronx Collective from community green space we have been restoring.
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Help us defend our right to continue to heal the land make it accessible to our communities!!
For the past year, we the North Bronx Collective--a group of BIPOC and QBIPOC cis-women along with volunteers made up of fierce femmes, non-gender conforming folkx, NYCHA residents, immigrants, artists, educators, gardeners, librarians, scientists and city workers-- have labored to create an open green space on Tibbett’s Tail, a piece of park land adjacent to Bailey Playground on Bailey Avenue between 234th Street and 238th street. This neighborhood is largely made up of working class BIPOC residents in the North West Bronx.  

On March 27th 2021, after several months of cooperating and responding to inquires, we found that the Parks Department LOCKED US OUT of Tibbett’s Tail preventing our cleanup and restoration work!

Now, we are faced with defending our work in the face of red-tape roadblocks and thinly-veiled threats from Parks. We ask for your support--to help us defend our right to continue work to heal the land and make it accessible to our communities. In the context of a new round of land grabs by gentrifiers and developers -- mirroring what happened in the 1970s in The Bronx -- keeping this space open to the community is crucial for land liberation work in this city.

Our collective originally formed to do mutual aid work between March and August 2020. We served 1000 meals a month in the North West Bronx to BIPOC families suffering form unemployment due to COVID. We began work at Tibbets Tail for the long-term health of our communities and land after decades of pollution and dumping. We aim to hold educational programming on food liberation work focused on healthy eating, composting, monarch waystation, and medicinal plants directly serving local residents, schools, and senior centers. We have held biweekly cleanups and developed close working relationships with community members and grassroots organizations.

The recent lockout by Parks demonstrates a harsh antagonism towards this work, and a desire to control it. We have been transparent about our work with Community Board 8, Partnerships for Parks, The Bronx Parks Commissioner's office and the Administrative Park and Recreation Manager-- all have expressed support for our work. In September,  we received a donation from New York Restoration Project and the former councilman for raised beds, rainwater catchment system, and infrastructures for people to sit and enjoy the space.

The work to create and sustain community green space--particularly in areas abandoned by the city--is crucial for the long-term health of working class BIPOC communities at the center the COVID pandemic and its after effects. Bailey Playground is ranked in the 29% “worst of the Bronx parks”; as recently as 2016, the city only spent $898 maintaining it. For the past year, we have held biweekly cleanups to clear trash, litter, overgrown weeds, including fallen trees from the space. The raised beds provide the necessary foundation to grow and maintain perennial bushes for butterflies and pollinators alike, serving as a waystation for the endangered monarchs and birds migrating south, also providing a local food source for wildlife. Due to increasing climate chaos and changing weather patterns, providing a migratory site and safe path for birds, butterflies and other insects like bees to thrive, is critical to tackle the impact of climate change in the Bronx. Worldwide, urban habitats are among the least resilient in the face of natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Healthy soils create healthy lives. And with rampant lead pollution, life cannot be sustained by poor soil. The raised beds are a vital structure for growing healthy plant life, as we work to remediate the soil at Tibbet's Tail to protect both the health of the population and the environment. In order to have a healthy community we must preserve our green spaces.  

We understand our obligations and responsibility to the long-term health of our surrounding neighborhoods and to the Munsee Lenape and Wappinger Land we live on. Cleaning up and caring for Tibbet’s Tail will benefit the NW Bronx community for years to come. This has been a space that the city has neglected. We do this work not because we see this as “doing the city’s work” but because we recognize the debt owed to generations of Indigenous and Black peoples who have stewarded the land on Turtle Island. If we were to be paid for our labor, it would be at least triple what the city is spending on Bailey Playground at present. Understanding that this is stolen land, we aim to build a long term relationship with it, not own it or capitalize off of it. Our activities have been focused on healing the land. Your support and solidarity ensures that it will continue.

Cleanup progress, 2020-21
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