I am designing a building that would not only give a sense of belonging to individuals that have experienced pain but also to those who have had injustice done to them.
In researching the history of the African American population in the Fillmore District, I found there to be similarities to my life. During the Redevelopment period in the Fillmore, African Americans, who had created a thriving community, were forced to move to the East Bay or to entirely new cities. I grew up in a small country called Rwanda whose people suffered from a genocide in 1994 that took the lives of a million people. Rwandans had to re-orient themselves to the world after a disorienting loss. My generation came of age during this period and saw people struggle to heal but yet create a new community based on shared pain. Years later, after graduating from high school, I had the chance to move to the United States for university. I left a country where I was a part of this communal pain and learned to become an ‘international’ student in a country where I had to find new commonalities with those with a different history.
All Work and Text by Ramona Gakuba