Shay West

Shay’s Story

I first found out about WLWC from the work on the house.  I take that back – I noticed the labyrinth and thought it was so cool and wonderful.  And then I noticed the work being done to ELA House.

My uncle used to own that house and my grandfather paid the taxes.  My aunt was supposed to move in but couldn’t – I didn’t know how it all happened that it was up for sale and someone else had purchased it. And then I saw the Open House and about WLWC on Facebook.  I had noticed the change right here on this block and was curious about what they did to the house and about the labyrinth.  My grandson and I came and that’s when I found out about WLWC and its vision for the community.

I think I really fell in love with the statement of beautifying vacant and abandoned properties.  I like helping baby birds that have fallen out of the nest…to help nurture something, to give life, to inspire life and inspire hope.  And I felt a sense of responsibility because this was a part of my family legacy.  So many African Americans lose their property because of the paper work; or they aren’t able to take care of the property or fight over who should take care of it; or they don’t mow the grass and then the city takes over it.  When my grandfather was alive, he had Darren cut it…not all of it, because there was a house right here – where the labyrinth was.  That’s how I guilted him into caring for it now.  You don’t have to wait for somebody else to come in and beautify…we can beautify our own community.