Open letter to the Vallejo African American Community — Visions of the Wild Festival

visions_headerOpen letter to the Vallejo African American community — Visions of the Wild Festival: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act.

September 3-6, 2014 in Downtown Vallejo

Hello, fellow citizens of the beautiful city of Vallejo,

My name is Brenda Crawford and I have lived in Vallejo for the last thirteen years and during this time I have slowly developed a love affair with this city. I am proud to be a resident of a city that is not only beautiful but also resilient. Vallejo has taken some hard knocks in the last twenty years, however, now when I ride around the city the theme of The Jefferson’s television show goes through my head: We are “moving on up” even with the recent earthquake.

The revitalization of our city is a result of all the festivities that are happening in the downtown area. Many of these events are created by artists and supported by organizations like the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation. A busier, safer downtown is generating more foot traffic and more business to this beautiful historic center of our city.

Now, the U.S. Forest Service, along with wide array of partners, has chosen Vallejo to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act! This is an incredible tribute to our city and will be a magnificent celebration of the beauty of all the wild places that the state of California and the Bay Area offers for it citizens and for people around the world.

I am writing because I have been involved in the planning of this event, but more than that I am an African American older woman who is concerned about the numbers of African Americans who do not take advantage of the wild nature that surrounds us.

I am not sure why this is, but I do know that many of our families come from the rural South where the living was difficult, and poverty and discrimination was omnipresent. Many of us came to California and other places in the United States to escape the “country living.” To think of going camping, hiking, and canoeing for fun never crosses our mind!

I spent the first twelve years of my life in Jackson, Mississippi and have fond memories of going to the Delta for fishing or picking blackberries and wild plums. My greatest joys were going to outdoor revivals at little country churches in the woods. There are many verses in the Bible that speak to the beauty, peace and comfort that the wild brings. Luke 5:16 states “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

I encourage those of us who remember the beauty and the peace of quiet isolated places and the joy of the outdoors to please attend the festival. You can get more information by visiting us online at It is my sincere hope that African American community takes advantage of this unique learning experience by attending the Visions of the Wild Festival from September 3-6th in Downtown Vallejo.

In Community Spiritual Connection, Brenda J. Crawford

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