Near M.L. King Boulevard, there is a garden coincidentally and quietly carrying out the very dream that the road's namesake championed.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed," King said half a century ago this month. "'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
That includes refugees from Burundi -- one of the five poorest countries in the world, according to Global Finance magazine. Refugees who by some chance have landed in Chattanooga.
"They are the victims of civil war, and violence, and corrupt government, so in order to protect themselves and their families, they go and stay at refugee camps," Susannah Murdoch said Friday evening at the celebration of the garden's first harvest.
Murdoch is one of the founding volunteer directors of Chattanooga's Neema resettlement outreach, a group that seeks to help refugees from across the globe -- Sudan, Somalia, Cuba, Colombia, Congo, Chad, Iraq and Burundi -- settle and make homes and lives in the Scenic City.
The garden is a sort of coming-together where community building can happen.
"Food is a universal language," Murdoch said.
And in some cases, it's the only language the refugees have in common. Many of them were brought to America as part of a United Nations agreement, Murdoch said, and many of them are literally strangers in a foreign land.
What Neema, the Swahili word for divine grace, seeks to do is make Chattanooga more than a place where refugees end up. They want to make Chattanooga home.
The garden started off as "just a little idea," Murdoch said.
In other words, just a dream.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at email@example.com or 423-757-6731.
Alex joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 as a region business reporter. He is a native of Dayton, Tenn., located 35 miles north of Chattanooga, and he is a fifth-generation Dayton native. Alex came to the Times Free Press as an editorial intern in July 2013. He was previously a correspondent at The Herald-News, located in Dayton, through college and editor-in-chief of the Triangle, Bryan College's student-led media group. Alex was ...