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Ypsi Urban Farmer Mixes Fear With Hope On This Juneteenth Amidst Growing Racial Unrest

Jun 19, 2020

We the People Opportunity Farm Director Melvin Parson

Today is Juneteenth.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry has been sharing the thoughts of several different community members about what Juneteenth means to them.  We The People Opportunity Farm Director Melvin Parson talks about what Juneteenth means to him and shares his concerns about being an African American man in 2020.


WEMU's Lisa Barry and Melvin Parson

Farmer Melvin Parson has made it his mission to break Washtenaw County's incarceration cycle, but Juneteenth is something he's only merely recognized, not celebrated.  However, this year's acts of police brutality have changed Parson's attitude and inspired him to engage more in his community.

Right now, Parson feels a sense of being "hopeful" and "powerless" at the same time.  The powerlessness comes from concern over the safety of his 29 year-old son and two year-old grandson.  But, Parson still finds solace by working on his farm and avoiding the news.

Yet, amidst all of the recent racial tension, Parson believes that postive change will come.  According to him, all it takes is "patience."

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu