Walnut Avenue

Poetic Justice

Ryan Hendricks at the May 31st protest in Waterbury, Connecticut. Photograph by Terrence Bell

 

Story By John Murray

 

   Ryan Hendricks lives in the Walnut area in the North End of Waterbury. A vacant lot separates the Hendricks from the back of a bodega, where drug sales are brisk, and sellers have an easy escape route from police.

 

   It’s a tough neighborhood with boarded up homes, and opportunity and hope hard to come by. The Hendricks have a fence around their yard and they clean and maintain vacant lots on either side of their property. In the summer the Hendricks organize a block party on Walnut Avenue and they dig into their own pockets to feed 500 people BBQ jerk chicken, and they provide music, water slides and a bouncy house to the neighborhood children.