GCF Corps Member Maurice Davis Addresses Planters Grove Opening

October 06, 2011  |   Posted by :   |   Blog,Uncategorized   |   Comments Off on GCF Corps Member Maurice Davis Addresses Planters Grove Opening»

On October 3, 2011, GCF Corps Member Maurice Davis delivered the following remarks at the opening of Planters Grove, a new park located at Lillian Wald Houses on the Lower East Side. He was met with a standing ovation by those gathered, including NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, Commissioner Margarita Lopez, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, and U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, as well as residents of the Lillian Wald Houses. The park was built through a partnership of Planters, the New York City Housing Authority, Green City Force, and The Corps Network. Watch a video of Maurice’s address here.

From left: GCF Corps Member Maurice Davis, GCF Team Leader Lawrence Harris, and NYCHA Commissioner Margarita Lopez. Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski/NYCHA

Good morning, my name is Maurice Davis, and I’m currently a Corps Member with Green City Force. I live in Rutgers Houses, which is down the street. My fellow Corps Member, Lee-Ana, and I will be in charge of the maintenance of this beautiful park. I’ve also been involved in building this park, and today I was asked to speak. So, I’ve prepared a few thoughts that I’d like to share with you.

By allowing yourself to partake in opportunities life presents to you, you unlock your true potential.

As a young person, it’s easy to feel directionless and full of self-doubt. Often, you don’t put yourself forward, accepting life’s dire circumstances. But when you do take that first step, you are surprised. When you open doors, you find your calling.

I used to fit into a mold of oppression, internalizing how society looks at me. Instead of discovering ways to improve myself, I accepted my stereotypes. It’s unfortunate, because being labeled does not embody nor describe the complex natures of who we truly are. In my case, I sat around, then had a lucrative opportunity come my way, but I let it pass me by. When that happened, over time, I was regretful, I felt terrible, and I started to believe that I had no potential.

Green City Force started as a way to earn extra income, but by opening up my brain to vital knowledge, it has now become a passion. I now see the bigger picture.

GCF Corps Member Lee-Ana Correa at Planters Grove. Photo credit: Pete Mikeleski/NYCHA

I had a narrow way of thinking about the way I approached life and the environment. I learned a lot more about myself through work and my fellow Corps Members. My discipline and ethics became sharper and more sturdy because I allowed myself to be improved. Truthfully, I’ve always been a loner, I’ve never liked to depend on others. I never liked people assisting in my work because I always thought I’d be more productive alone. However, I learned how to adapt to other people by working with a team, and through that, we achieved many accomplishments, including this park.

I’m elevated; I can say I’m on the track for a career, simply because I made an investment in myself. Now, my goal is to rise up in the field of making buildings more energy efficient. I expect to go to college, and to work my way towards a management role.

I’ve changed in the way that I relate to the environment. Recycling, saving energy… these have now become ingrained in me and a part of who I am. If we become unified, we can make change. We are all affected ; we’re all human, and we all breathe the same air. If we unify, great things can be achieved.

GCF Corps Members during Davis' remarks. Photo credit: Pete Mikeleski/NYCHA

To my fellow NYCHA residents: If we learn not to be so selfish and take in the information about what’s really going on in our environment, no matter where we are, there are greater possibilities at hand. Our resources are limited. Fruit and vegetables are scarce, and those we can buy are often moldy or of poor quality. We can choose to accept the present… but in reality are we really comfortable? We face asthma, cancer, and a lack of healthy food. These are truly environmental issues, and we need to make that connection.

This park is a step towards all that is possible in NYCHA complexes. We suck in the environment we live in… and I believe that having a beautiful space can boost morale and make an improvement in our communities.

To my fellow youth: Stand up because we are the future. Be optimistic. This is optimism right here- it’s this park.

I look at the possibilities- maybe we can have an urban farm right here in this community someday, and a farmer’s market with healthy food. But in order for that to happen, we need to have a different mentality. We take this world for granted, but in order for humanity to thrive, we must learn not to think in a self-centered fashion and coexist with the environment.

The human condition is to learn and grow. As someone young, I took all the energy I possess along with my other Corps Members and put it towards positivity. If we take that energy that we all possess and harness it, together, we can have parks and green space all over this city. Great things can be achieved all over the world. Let this park and this day be a stepping stone to something more.

Watch a video of Maurice’s address here.

Commissioner John B. Rhea and Corps Member Maurice Davis after Davis' remarks. At left, GCF Corps Member Lee-Ana Correa. Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski/NYCHA

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