FAB Walks Lennox

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By Sina Uipi

In early March, the F.A.B. took some members from the Lennox Tongan United Methodist Church on a walking tour. We walked to Lennox Park, and the first question asked by a concerned mother, Akesa Ahoia, was if law enforcement helps to keep the park safe. We assured her that we work closely with local sheriffs and that they are always willing to help the Tongan community, especially when it comes to safety. Although there is a history of gang violence that has taken place at Lennox Park, there is an effort to create a more safe and accessible environment for both the Latino and Tongan communities.

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Melesisi Tuifua, another concerned mother, shared her thoughts about the new changes at Lennox Park:

The walking tour to Lennox Park was a great experience for not only myself, but for some of the younger generations and church members. The change was much needed because of the bad history between Latino gang members and Tongans. The new workout equipment and walking trail is a great new touch to the park, especially because the sign and description is in the Tongan language. As long as the area is secured by law enforcement, the Tongan community will be more inclined to using the park. This is a great start to building a strong foundation for both communities to come as one.

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There is hope in this struggle and we will continue to help minimize the fear that prevents the community from being active.

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After the park we walked to El Zorro market, where folks had a chance to see the section of Tongan food and speak with the owner. They let us put up a sign in Tongan to build awareness and that the store can also sell by bulk. It was a great beginning to creating a relationship between the family owned business and the community. Simote and Melesisi Tuifua discussed strategies with the owner of how to raise awareness about the market so that people know there is access to their own food and more importantly, that they matter.

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F.A.B. is an important tool of social justice to not only change the conversation about health and prevention, but it is vital in actively participating in policy and advocacy work.

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