Welcome to El Barrio!

Annel Cabrera-Marus with Monti Lawson and Sophia Samuda

Remarks by Director of Community Engagement Annel Cabrera-Marus at Spring Picnic 2018

Every day, NYRP staff work around the city, committed to service in our neediest neighborhoods. For Community Engagement, we are also committed to forging connections. 

We’re driven by the connections that we build with people and our gardeners, by respecting them and meeting them where they are, ensuring that in this city, long-time New Yorkers share their magic with one another. 

When we say we drive investment and resources into overlooked communities, we mean it. We drive those resources for the benefit of the abuelita, her family, neighbors, and the children who will inherit this city. And some of those amazing people, our gardeners, have joined us tonight. Shout out to the amazing table of gardeners!

So, my goal tonight and every day is to make sure that everyone knows about the everyday New Yorkers, who are the heart and soul of our gardens. 

They have so much to share, so many desires and ideas on how to make sure that the best parts, the talents, and treasures from their neighborhoods are celebrated.

My team goes out every day to work with neighbors to develop garden groups. They decide responsibilities and bylaws in various communities, but overall they come together to make sure that our spaces remain active, inclusive, safe, and valuable resources and assets. 

And in this city, you should know that the act of listening is groundbreaking. I mean really listening, especially to communities that are so often overlooked. 

It is a revolutionary act to make sure that community is heard and that they see themselves in our open spaces. Today, more than ever, telling someone that they belong, that this space is for them to care for, that this is for them to love and enjoy, is revolutionary. 

And we do it every day. 

Thank you for supporting NYRP and for recognizing the power that exists in our communities, the power that is manifested in our beautiful spaces and in the connections we get to build with every day New Yorkers.