When my husband decided that our family would move to his hometown of Pahokee, FL. I knew it would be a significant change moving from a metropolitan city, 1,000,000+ to a small city of about 6,000 people. My husbands return home was two fold. He wanted to be close to his family-mother, father, brothers and sister but also wanted to help his community by becoming the Mayor, which meant for him using all that he had learned and experienced, bringing it back home to Pahokee. He was adamant about returning home from the day we met in 1993 at Alabama State University. This was instilled in him from his graduation speech in 1992 at Pahokee High School. What he took away from that speech was that the speaker encouraged them to go out and gain knowledge and experience but don’t forget about returning home to help. From 1992, he kept this in his heart and vowed to return home to help his city.
Find God and Connection with someone older. I did this and it helped me get through a lot. The elder are wise
Important moment In my life was when my brother died . It made me realize that the streets of Boynton Beach are not for anyone. Things really got bad around here.
Important moment in my life was when I met my best friend . We been through everything together in this neighborhood from fights to jail. Not much to do around here but get in trouble.
Important moment in my life was losing my father. When he left my life I had to survive in this neighborhood alone.its a pretty ruff neighborhood I needed my dad for certain things.
The most important moment in my life were having my children. The hospital is now closed and it has really effected our community. We now have to drive to Belle Glade for healthcare. I came here in November 1970, married here in 1974. The roads on the way to my house have been needing fixing for years and nothing has been done. All the other roads have been fixed but they don’t care about ours in East Lake Village. I like Pahokee, its a nice quiet neighborhood. It’s not all that hustling and bustling like a big city.
This is a very diverse community. A lot of different nationalities. When I came here, I was raised in a community in South Carolina where there wasn’t such a diversity. When I came here, I saw how … a lot of times in a place like this you have to live it to understand it. It’s a community where people get along but I don’t think people are as close as they should be because of their upbringing. It’s very complicated. My brother drove 18 wheelers, filled vegetables from the field and brought them to the plants. I would ride with him and it was fun. Ive been to a lot of parts of Florida with him riding in his truck.
It’s a beautiful community and good environment. It was alright growing up here. We would go to the movies, library and park with my kids. We have a Martin Luther King parade every year we go and watch. The kids really like it they throw candy and have fire trucks.
From experience coming from New York to here, you have more help up there. It’s harder to find resources down here. I was in a bad relationship last year that left me homeless. There are no shelters around here. Now I am better but at the time I had no where to go. I saw a guy walking out of an empty building and was wondering what he was doing in there. People were sleeping in empty buildings. I’ve had a lot of good experiences too. A lot of mission teams came and helped people fix up their houses and that’s nice to see. The First Methodist Church makes you feel really welcomed and help a lot. Pahokee isn’t that bad it just needs some work. Only a few people show up to the town meetings and obviously nothing is going to get done if no one is telling them what we need.
First came 5/9/2014 out of prison. (14 months) Difficult to find place to live because of past offenses. Matthew 25 ministries provided access to housing in sugar cane field. Started coming to United Methodist Church. Was surprised because people welcomed me. Difficult to find employment, but people let me into their lives and hired me for yard work. People in this community are different than any other community because they understand that people make mistakes. The Glades Initiative is helping turn my life around. People here accept us as who we are and extend friendship out. People understand that change needs to be made elsewhere. They need to work on unemployment and communication. Started an AA group (meets 3x/week) because people don’t have much opportunity. Town meeting happened at church, but town residents didn’t know. A newsletter or website would be good to help connect people.