A Worst Case of Cultural Deterioration

The past few months I’ve made a decision to aid and collaborate with two organizations in South Providence, RI. One is the Southside Community Land Trust, a wonderful organization that owns and aids the development of urban gardens. The other is Amos House. Amos House has been around for 35 years, starting as a soup kitchen in a two family house in a very poverty stricken area of South Providence. It now offers an array of social services to folks, many of them in desperate need of aid, food, shelter. Amos House is also a wonderful organization. Both organizations appear to have great staff…..and both organizations fulfill a personal need I didn’t know existed.

Yesterday I was walking around the Amos House campus with Eileen Hayes, their CEO. Part of their operation is across the street from what both of us assume is a significant burial ground. It is perhaps a few acres of hundreds of graves, contains a number of magnificent historical gravestones, and is surrounded by a fancy black iron fence. It is owned by Grace Chruch, a historic church in the center of Providence’s downtown area.

The cemetery is a disaster. Gravestones are all over the place – damaged, falling, fallen. There is no lawn or tree maintenance (we visited right after a major storm so there was some recent tree damage to add to the already unkept property).

It was sad. I cannot imagine how it could happen. I know Providence and Rhode Island are in a terrible economic state, but how could this occur?