Longtime Fort Worth Weekly writer Betty Brink’s name and spirit will live on in an urban garden — and in apple pies and plum jam as well. The Fort Worth branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference will plant fruit trees in Brink’s honor on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at Harmony Healthy Harvest, the community garden near Harmony Missionary Baptist Church.
“The theme is ‘On a Brink of a Blessing” to honor Betty and her 50-plus years of fighting for justice,” said the Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of the local SCLC chapter.
Brink, who lived most of her life on Fort Worth’s southeast side, provided Tatum with a friendly ear and a willingness to write about social injustice over the years. When Tatum accused Fort Worth schools of treating minority kids differently than white kids, Brink wrote about his complaints and followed up with subsequent stories.
Tatum is working with the school system, the church, a food bank, Tarrant County Public Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create an outdoor classroom on sustainable ecosystems for urban kids, particularly at-risk students. The urban garden will serve as a component for reaching those kids.
“We know that outdoor activities like working in an orchard or a garden are very therapeutic,” Tatum said. “We’re hoping it will create an alternative to sending kids to jail. It’s summing up [Brink’s] life in a way that is meaningful.”
Some might think of Brink, who was still writing hard-hitting investigative pieces at age 80, and consider a Granny Smith apple tree. Politicians, school officials, prison wardens, and others who have felt Brink’s wrath over the years, might say a crabapple tree is more appropriate. Static thinks they should plant grapes. Brink, after all, aged like fine wine.