A Thursday meeting of Tallahassee’s Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency has many Southside residents brainstorming ways to get white eco-activists to care more about their well-being than oak trees.
Conversation in the City Commission chambers turned spicy as those seeking preservation of trees clashed with those not wanting their communities flooded and left in economic despair.
Bond community organizer Tabitha Ward explained:
“These white folk who show up with their glitter signs for social justice, their Democratic candidate yard signs, their woke tweets about Black Lives Matter… they don’t really care about us. It’s just about performing an image of themselves in front of their friends.
When it comes down to it they’ll always choose trees over black people… hell they’d choose tree frogs over us.”
But some residents have come up with a novel way to win over outside influencers.
“Next week we plan on having a group stand along FAMU Way wearing tree costumes. We’ll be the friendliest trees you’ve ever seen, smiling and waving at traffic. If they can’t bring themselves to humanize us, we’ll treeify ourselves to meet them half way.” explained Desmond Holmes.
Tree activist and opposition leader Linda Keeps-Hernames, who lists her occupation as “Gentrification Justice Specialist,” held her ground against the criticism.
“I care about the Southside community. In fact, after driving through the Piggly Wiggly parking lot yesterday I feel I have more of a stake in it than anyone.
People of color need whites to stop speaking over them, and towards that effort this black community needs to listen and do exactly what the group of white people I belong to have recommended.”
Holmes, overhearing the conversation, finished us out with “Uhhh… yeah. We’re hoping the costume thing works.”