Read Time 3 minutes 10 seconds
Let me tell you a story about what happened once. Every year we have this thing called Akron Honey Market Day. Our market day has been dubbed 'Open Air Social Market', which is a conscious way for people to shop small and be social. Pretty much, the city shuts down the street in front of our apiary, and allows us to assemble some of the coolest local small businesses, a food truck, a street food cart, and a Soul DJ, allowing people to enjoy the scene as they lounge on hip vintage furniture in the middle of the street. Last year during our Akron Honey Market Day I had a few special visitors. They were three young black girls who had never been to our market day before. Seeing as our attendance for Market Day has reached up to 700 people in under 5 hours, we were bound to attract more and more people every year. The three girls happened to be sisters, who were 17, 10 and 6 years old accordingly and lived in the neighborhood. The oldest of the sisters saw me exiting the apiary as I just got done showing the bee yard to a group of folks. "Hey, can we see what's back there", the oldest asked. I told them absolutely, and to come on back. They were amazed as to what was behind my fence. To them the rust belt characteristics ended and nature aroused, as they walked into our wild bee yard.
(In front of Crestland Park Apiary)
(Left: Entering the Apiary)
You see, it had been 3 years since I last cut the grass, so it looked very Jurassic and beautiful. "Wow, whoa," they all said. The oldest then asked me "whose is this?" I replied, "it's mine." Looking slightly confused she then asked, "whose thing (market) is it out there?" "That's mine too", I replied. Again, she looked puzzled. I was then compelled to spill the beans. I said,"Look, you can do whatever you want to do. I bought this land because it was cheap. I learned how to keep bees, and now people want to shop in the street, right in front of a bee yard in the city. You can save your money and buy your own land too." Almost immediately the oldest of the sisters said,"I could never do this. I just got a good job, and I would never want to mess it up."
(Left: The group of kids who were just before the three sisters)
This was all too familiar to me. Before even considering the possibility of being able to do something like this, she immediately disqualified it from existence. She'd never seen it before. She'd never even thought about something like this in her entire 17 years on Earth, and because of that she firmly believed that she could not. Years ago when I first went into a classroom filled with black and brown children I should have known that things like this would be a part of the journey. You see, people need something as a basis of measurement for their achievement. And in this case, I'm talking about these same children being able to see someone who looks like them, doing things they didn't see as possibilities. This is a unique occupancy of being a social entrepreneur.
Now I routinely visit both Saint Vincent and Case Elementary School to teach the kids about honeybees in the city, and to learn an equal amount from them. But the point of it all is this: I learned that I had to do what I'm doing, so that others can discover what they can do. Some call it inspiration. But it's actually responsibility.
Wesley The Keeper