From The Desk of the Acting Chair

From the Desk of the Acting Chair – Reflections on Bevo Bazaar-O!

As you may know, Better Bevo Now hosted the 2017 Fall Bevo Bazaar-O Flea Market this past Saturday. It was a scorcher of a day, but everyone who came out had a great time.

After the event, Bevo neighbor and author Erin Armknecht shared with me the following reflections on the event, the day, and our special piece of South City, and gave me permission to share her words with you.

“My St. Louis neighborhood is scrappy. It’s home to a lot of recent immigrants, a lot of refugees, and a lot of people who are neither; lots of people who struggle to make ends meet, and some who don’t. This morning, we went to the fall Bevo Bazaar-O, the air heavy both with late summer humidity and the sorrow and tension of a city boiling over with righteous pain and anger. This wedge of concrete and grass, with its small memorial to lives lost in Bosnia’s horrific Srebrenica massacre, was full of families. Black families. Brown families. White families. Families with any combination of the above. Mamas in hijab, mamas with braids. Mamas in ponytails and Cardinals caps. Dads carrying babies, juggling half a dozen orders of hot dogs and chips for their families. Little kids running around, blowing bubbles, faces painted, waiting patiently for their turn to request a balloon animal.

This is St. Louis. It’s not perfect. It’s broken. But it’s worth fixing. It’s got a lot of beauty, a lot of heart. I saw it in a sun-beaten patch of a scrappy south city neighborhood this morning. If that isn’t worth taking to the streets and raising our voices, reaching out and offering our help, asking ourselves hard questions, opening our ears and just listening; if that isn’t worth fighting for, then I don’t know what is. March on. Fight on. Love on. I’ve got hope, that fragile “thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I’ve got hope that change can happen, and I know it’s going to require hard, uncomfortable, painful work. But as I stood in the sun this morning, looking at my beautiful neighbors, at this bustling park, I felt that hope and confidence that we can do better, and we will. We must. This morning, I fell that much more in love with this city I call home, and this little south city neighborhood we chose to buy our first home in, raise our son in, and make our own. I’m not a St. Louisan by birth, but I am one by heart.”

Bevonians are a can-do people. When you see a need, you act. You extend your hearts, open your wallets, and lend a hand. You understand community and what it means to come together; you seek neither attention nor reward. You unfailingly show up and work hard to make Bevo a wonderful place to live. It made my heart grow three sizes to read Erin’s words, and to know that the hard work you do is valued and appreciated. Keep it up, Bevo! You make me so very proud.

Gwen Murray
BBN Acting Chair