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Tywreh Nelson

Born into and raised by the community of St. Croix, as a child growing up, there has been a propensity to be oblivious of the hardships faced by many of the adults who surround us. Where a child may see potential in an opportunity to learn and grow, an adult may acknowledge the lack thereof and focus on what something is not. The older we get the more likely we are to lose access to the imaginary realm our dreams and curiosity derive from. Consequently, the creativity of the irrational becomes masked by the excuses of the rational, a typical practice commonly performed by the adults of our kind. This is why I am here today participating in this Photovoice initiative. To be a voice for a subgroup of people that desperately need to be heard, the Ghetto Youths.

I have lived on St. Croix all my life and not once can I recall the Frederiksted Historic District being treated with the respect and love it is deserving of. Perhaps, over the years, we have forgotten the rich yet provocative history that has forged the people we are today. Our earliest ancestors sacrificed everything, some with their own lives, to get us on fair grounds. I must give my thanks, for now I have privileges they couldn’t even begin to imagine. Let us remember where we came from and the sacrifices that were made on our behalf. Let us remember that we are standing on the backs of giants.

There is a sense of irony in our situation. Much of the foundation for the desired lifestyle we aspire to live on our homeland has already occurred from work our ancestors has put in. The evidence can be seen in the mere essence of who we are as a people. The collective has gone through so much turmoil and oppression, separate from natural disasters, yet still manage to overcome. This proves that we are, in fact, rooted in resilience. Therefore, let’s embrace our roots as a resilient community with fruitful potential. Are we bold enough to claim it? Reevaluate your perspective on the Frederiksted Historic District, do you see the rubble of what is left, or the foundation of what is to come. I, too, believe we are more than ruins.

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