The Hillyard blog received this letter submitted by Alex Bistrevsky, a former 4-H youth gardener, this morning, in response to the vandalism at the Slavic Community Garden earlier this week:
"The elderly Slavic gardeners who use the community garden at Andrew Rypien Field were given their gardening rights when their former gardening spot was destroyed to make room for a new building. At Andrew Rypien field they could finally find solace, gardening for large portions of the day, and taking pride in all of their hard work.
Recently this has not been the case. Their hard work has been devastated by a number of people who pray on the gardeners’ freedom to the pursuit of their one and only happiness: their gardens.
This week, these people broke into the gardens once again and caused an unimaginable amount of damage. A storage shed containing gardening tools was busted open, the lock completely broken and the gardening tools were stolen, and in addition to that, at least seven plots were completely flooded after someone turned on all the watering systems and left them to pour overnight. The gardeners affected will have to pick out the fragments of garden they have left, and start again from scratch. Other plots were damaged when intruders plucked and downright stomped on produce, and stole the support structures of the gardens. The end goal is clear: these actions were intended to severely hurt the spirit of the members of the Slavic community, and sadly that goal was accomplished.
As the Slavic elderly gather, filled with heartache and shock, pacing back and forth over puddles of grass trying to console their fellow gardeners and friends, they wonder who is capable of such cruelty, and can only hope that whoever did these things does not decide to come back again.
As excessive as this has all been already, I’m afraid that this is only the beginning. These intruders have been continuously harassing the elderly gardeners, calling them names both inappropriate and filled with bigotry, and also through acts of vandalism.
The elderly gardeners are giving up hope, feeling they are far too weary to face this destruction again. Their source of life and vitality has been diminished by vandalism and harassment. The gardeners are old, have lived through much, and too much more of this stress could kill them. They are crying, wishing for it all to stop, wishing for just some of their plants to be safe. Gardening is their life and as long as their gardens are being recklessly torn apart, they are not living, and in fact are dead."