The Brightness of a Cemetery

My experience in joining the BACC.

By Kaleab Eshete

I first heard of BACC a year ago. I was nearing the end of my junior year in high school and was cautiously looking for internships that I could begin over the summer. After a long and thorough search, it seemed as if no company could ever catch my eye or even interest me in the slightest. Then, while I scrolled down the seemingly endless list of companies and law firms, I caught a glimpse of something different. Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition. Interesting. It wasn’t the type of internship I was looking for, but it couldn’t hurt to look into it. So I read, and the more I read, the more in disbelief I became. An endless amount of questions flooded my mind. How could people want to build houses on top of a graveyard? Is this what humanity has come to? What other inhumane acts are people willing to commit to make money? Even before meeting the warm family of the BACC, I knew this was a cause that I needed to fight for. 

When people think of the word cemetery, they usually picture a dark grim plot of land filled with trees and air polluted with grief and sadness. But when I think of the word cemetery, I picture a resting place. Grounds that are alive with the memories of those who have passed. Throughout history cemeteries have been used as public records: headstones documenting who lived where and when, providing insight into a community’s larger history. This is what Moses Cemetery represents. It represents a piece of African American history and ancestral connection. But the most important thing I’ve come to understand now is that the BACC isn’t just fighting for Moses Cemetery, but also against structural racism that has transcended the physical realm and targeted the peace our ancestors deserve.

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