Words by Network Co-Founder, SusiQ Beck at the Rampage of Appreciation event culminating our community impact project and CRP Bay Area “Amor Cura” mural installation on A Street.

We’ve been at work in Ashland Cherryland for over 4 years now, a grassroots, volunteer network of neighbors who believe we can re-create this neighborhood from the ground up. We’ve been putting in gardens, sharing food, hosting educational programs, funding art in the darkest corners. We’re pushing for a holistic policy approach to economic development, food access and violence prevention in Ashland Cherryland, that relieves the burden of lifestyle diseases run- rampant, fueled by poverty and lack of investment.

We recognize that our neighborhood is not only a food desert, it’s also a desert when it comes to art.

To us, beauty is as necessary to life as food and water.

Lack of art in communities like Ashland Cherryland are a root cause of violence. Just like nourishing food, truly nourishing art reflects and builds cultural, community, and personal values. Art in our neighborhood needs to be planted, nourished and protected – just like our food system.

Today is a Rampage of Appreciation for the beautiful people who came forward this week to take the first step toward eradicating the Ashland Cherryland “art desert.”

In five years, there are so many people to appreciate for having come to this moment, truly a crossroads for our neighborhood. People like Shanale Allen and Ruth and Mike Baratta – our deepest roots in the neighborhood. So for those I named, and everyone else they represent. A rampage of appreciation for our roots!

Dana Harvey and Mandela Marketplace are instrumental to our success. Not only did Mandela loan us a lovely shade tent for the week, Mandela is our fiscal sponsor.

Dana Harvey, and the network of community-owned businesses Mandela Marketplace has launched, are on the frontline of grassroots sustainable economic development. Beyond bringing healthy food access to poverty communities, Mandela’s approach to community revitalization places residents in the position of designers and beneficiaires of their own solutions. Amor Cura, and the launch of the Garden District, is a direct result of Dana Harvey’s work in Ashland Cherryland. A rampage of appreciation for the ever flexible, but Redwood-solid trunk of our organization, Dana Harvey.

CRP Bay Area Mike Threesixty, Mixtli,Desi W.O.M.E, RELEASE, BBoy Disko, Dora
And now, for the fruits!!

It’s not only art that brings life to a neighborhood, the presence of artists is nourishing. They make us laugh, they make us see things differently. They make us slow down and remember this is all a dream anyway.

Desi W.O.M.E. – I know from experience that it takes a special person to be the head of an organization. To have the vision, and know how to pull people together to get it done. To be the bank, the calendar, the landlord, the business development department, and still rock out amazing masterpieces. Rampage of appreciation for Desi!

Release – Passion is the fuel for any revolution. Release pours pure passion for life into his craft. It’s the same passion that drives flowers to fruit and it’s truly the source of Abundance. Thank you for bringing passion and abundance to the Garden District. Rampage of appreciation for Release!

Pancho Peskador – Pancho is our exotic flavor from a foreign land! Pancho reminds me that what is happening in Ashland Cherryland is a part of a global movement. Pancho always says Art is the Weapon. For our #1 weapon in the Love Revolution: Rampage of appreciation for Pancho!

Mike Threesixty – If Pancho reminds us that our movement is global, Mike reminds us that it’s spiritual. That this is a movement of consciousness, where form follows intention. Painter, break-dancer, flute-player, master prayer-maker, shape-shifter, time traveler… A Rampage of Appreciation for the man dancing at the crossroads of culture and subsistence: Mike Threesixty!

Shanale and I started a company called Soul Sisters, referencing the tres hermanas method of traditional planting of corn, squash and beans together. In addition to absolutely adoring her, I recognize Dora as the squash leaves at our feet – cooling the ground, nourishing our roots. A rampage of appreciation for our hermana, Dora!

Food scarcity. Health crisis. Neighborhood violence. Our communities are this way for a reason. And there are communities all over the globe sharing our struggle for food, water, and the culture that feeds us.

“Amor Cura” is for Native people defending everything you and I depend on for life. “Amor Cura” is for the resisters of oppression in Chile, in Africa, in China. It’s for the fishermen on the Louisiana Coastline. It’s for our cousin food deserts in West Oakalnd and East Oakland.

Network Co-Founders, SusiQ Beck & Shanale Allen
This project has impacted our community beyond leaving us with a beautiful landmark. It has connected us with people who we would never have considered as allies. Now we are working in close partnership to achieve our shared community goals. Our Network has grown to include new partners like Nezzy Nez, Mac’s Sportsbar and DJ Adonis, who have committed with us to a $50,000 HeartBeats Impact Project Series in South Cherryland. The HeartBeats Project will create a gateway to health in South Cherryland by integrating food system and health education with music, dance, murals, and beautification projects, uniting our neighborhood through creative culture.

Violence, poverty, economic crisis can be seen as one disease. A dis-ease that can be healed with one cure. Amor. Love expressed through food. Love expressed through art. Love expressed through community action. That’s what our Network is about. That is what the Garden District is about.

So our last rampage of appreciation is for the new opportunities, the new partnerships, and the healthy, vibrant, art-filled future, in a short time, we will say all began with Amor Cura.