What are the simple, most evident truths? Once upon a time, I would look for answers from philosophers or external sources. As I age, and mother two kids and grow up alongside them, I feel that truth lies mostly in my heart. And home is truly where the heart is. My heart still grows in queens where I grew up.
There has been so much economic development of this area, new condos rising up in the places that were once abandoned lots; Islamic schools and masjids growing day by day; and new businesses popping up. It seems like there are more sweet shops than ever before, while the rate of diabetes continues to boom. I am struck by the new faces, by the women adorned in bright beautiful scarves at every establishment– from the pharmacy to the 99 Cent store to the C-town. Everywhere I go I speak in my native language and feel so blessed to know it. I see the dishes that my mom made growing up being sold in many of the restaurants and grocery stores. There’s no denying the level of comfort and ease I feel in being “back home” in Queens. This is the place of my youth. This is the place of my past. But I wonder, could this be my future?
Today, I took my kids down Hillside with my mother. My favorite was seeing fish being sold on the side of the street!
As if selling fish on public property is even legal. People were buying fish on the street.
In my travels around the country, on site visits to food desserts and gentrified areas in black and brown communities, fresh produce and meat were scarce. In my black and brown community, food is currency. It fuels not only the bellies of the working poor, it is the primary source of wealth here.
I’m here this week and will share more of my adventures in Queens.