December 6, 2023
Jeffrey Hayes cleans the bottom of the “Black Household” statue. File picture

Jeffrey Hayes is testomony to the tenet that one individual could make a distinction. What he completed was the rationale for a celebration by neighborhood leaders and residents on the nook of  Ocean View Boulevard and fortieth Avenue, in what’s now referred to as the Neal Petties Mountain View Park.  

They gathered this week to have fun a present from the state of California of $195,000 to rebuild paintings that had been destroyed years earlier. It was a statue titled “The Black Household,” of which solely the bottom and a small plaque stays. In addition they be celebrated the person who was liable for all of this occurring –Jeffrey Hayes.

Jeffrey Hayes
Jeffrey Hayes

His intensive effort to make a distinction started by telling the story of his hero Neal Petties to neighborhood teams, metropolis officers — anybody keen to pay attention.  He advised them how the previous SDSU soccer star and Baltimore Colts participant devoted himself to the folks of the neighborhood when he was employed by San Diego Parks and Recreation to oversee the park.  

Hayes recalled it as a particular place for his family and different neighborhood residents, and he by no means forgot Petties and what he did.

“He was like a life coach for all the youngsters round right here,” Hayes stated, recalling that “Mr. Petties would stand in for working moms within the neighborhood, serving to youngsters who had no fathers in the home.”

Hayes was clear about his objective in telling Petties’ story. He wished the park services to be repaired, changed, refurbished and urged the renaming to honor Pettie, who was alive when his effort started. Sadly, Petties was stricken with Alzheimers and would die earlier than this extraordinary effort labored its method by metropolis departments, committees and residents teams.

Hayes dedication didn’t go unnoticed. As a part of his advocating for the park and its renaming, he additionally pushed to rebuild the statue that after graced the park. Devoted in 1974, the “Black Household” featured 4 figures standing six toes on the highest, representing a husband, spouse and two youngsters.

It was created by artist Rossie Wade within the type of a standard African wooden carving.   Assemblymember Akilah Weber referred to as the paintings’s destruction a mirrored image of the tough occasions the Black neighborhood has endured in San Diego, with “crippling disparities in our communities.”

Becoming a member of the Weber on the occasion was Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Fourth District Councilmember Monica Montgomery-Steppe. Together with Mayor Todd Gloria, they’d all come collectively to help a state finances request for the artwork challenge.

Montgomery-Steppe stated the work was to honor the “cultural epicenter for the neighborhood” which “speaks to the lifetime of our neighborhood”.

Weber stated the cash to rebuild the statue was vital because it “was an emblem of belonging, an emblem of hope and togetherness, and a reminder of the significance of the household unit. It was one place locally the place Black households might see themselves in public artwork in a optimistic mild.”      

Standing quietly close by, listening to the audio system speak in regards to the park and the statue and praising his efforts to make this occur, Jeffrey Hayes was smiling.