Imagine three trails in roughly the same area, side by side. Two are created by public money and one is developed out of private interest. In theory, the two trails funded by public money should be of the same caliber: if maintained, then easily accessible and attractive; if neglected, equally ignored. Now imagine that people with control and resources have taken an interest in one of the public trails, and with all their resources, establish control over the public infrastructure. Instead of enjoying another group’s investment and interest, the other public trail is surrounded by the working class, which is consistently ignored by those with control and resources. Many residents request maintenance and inclusion as part of the city system, but calls for help are dismissed based on the amount of public response necessary. The private trail is maintained slowly and steadily, with access to the neglected trail. There is no need to imagine because this scenario exists, and these trails are the Butler Trail, Roy Guerrero Trail, and Circle Acres.
Many people discuss neglect and displacement as if those behaviors are the fault of the people targeted for such acts, while excusing the circumstances as “the way things are.” I would argue that too many people are content with this notion: “You deserve to starve and die because you failed to catch my eye.” Public infrastructure is supposed to belong to and be accessible by the public, but there has been a longstanding campaign to give everything to those who lack the capacity to share. Rather than create parks where everyone feels safe and respected–and relieve stress from multiple crises–it has become clear that the dominant narrative sees every ounce of dirt as available for control, and that those without resources deserve to suffer severe consequences for their lack. No safe society can exist as long as people charged with protecting and representing the entirety of the public falter under the influence of people who are apathetic to the needs of all, and the entire country is seeing how self-centered people justify their exploitation of the weakness of others.
Some would say that I am harsh towards those dependent on the dominant narrative, and to that, I say that I am no angel, and if I require evolution of myself, I require it of those around me, particularly those who accepted the responsibility for progress. I participated in a run on the Butler Trail–the above picture is a photograph of my bib number–and I had no idea that Council had readily agreed to fund this run, but hesitated before funding Juneteenth. I supported The Domain before I realized the effect it would have on the surrounding community, consequences I now face based on its expansion. I supported the original Red Line for Project Connect before I completed my training and discovered the displacing effects of urban rail. There are a lot of meaningless conversations occurring, but not a lot of action to repair the past, and people can no longer be content with allowing emotional violence to run rampant. Society has to stop caring that people are hurt when being called into account, and start holding them to task for repairing the damage because in theory, everyone deserves to be happy, but too many people with control and resources are only happy when harming others.