“To be realistic, we have to think about the impossible. When I work with people, I say, ‘let’s try to create what we want to see.’ We need to create it visibly.” ~Carlos “Elmo” GomezPhoto: AFSC
Carlos “Elmo” Gomez became a change maker after surviving a shooting outside his school. One of six children being raised by a single mother, Elmo had seen too much of his neighborhood devastated by gang violence, too much prejudice, and too much discouragement.
Today Elmo is thriving through gardening—a very unusual activity for his inner-city neighborhood in L.A. With AFSC’s help, students took over a vacant lot near their school and transformed it into a vegetable garden. When they learned that an ordinance prevented residents from having gardens, Elmo and other students went door-to-door, offering free seedlings to their neighbors and building momentum to change the policy.
Elmo talks about the challenges and successes of getting a urban garden project started in his community: