Amini Sababu Community Organizer

Amini emanates love and goodness no matter what she’s doing – organizing a community movie night at the Conservatory, creating a voter education gathering to encourage her fellow Trentonians to know their voice matters, organizing the annual Buy Black event at the Carver Center, being there for friends of 30 years or three days.

Amini created the Serenity Garden at the corner of Prospect and Bellevue — first an abandoned house, then an abandoned lot — to give her neighborhood a place of peace and beauty, in memory of victims of violence, to heal anyone who has felt pain in their heart. “Things just fell into place with the Serenity Garden, in amazing ways. Sort of like it was ordained,” she says. Through the work of hundreds of volunteers, as well as support via Shiloh CDC, the THDC Small Grants Program, and an I Am Trenton grant, the garden has grown into a place where people can reflect and feel hope. “The wonderful truth is, it belongs to everyone. I like that!” Amini says. Some days she’ll pass by to find that a church group or a sorority has been by to weed or plant or decorate, that someone has found the garden from the bus. It’s as if it has a life of its own.

“My mother always said to me, ‘That which we feed will grow, so feed the good’,” she says. “I learn more and more just how powerful those few words are. When you’ve lived for a while, have gone through some things, listened to the life accounts of others, some who have triumphed over the unthinkable, you realize how important it is to just love, to give, to forgive, to accept as is, and to smile. We have much to be grateful for.”

This is our Amini, and we are so grateful for her.

Photographed by Alfredo Marin, Jr. in downtown Trenton.

Connect with the Serenity Garden on Facebook.

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