An interior designer has returned to her hometown to raise funds to renovate the homes of descendants of the Rosewood Massacre.
Healing Homes by Design, a company founded by Melody Vaughn, hosted the Hometown Edition of the âArt, Wine, Designâ fundraiser on Saturday at Caffe Sabroso at 404 SE Second St.
Vaughn said this was the fifth fundraiser and the first time she had held the event in her hometown of Gainesville.
Vaughn returned to Gainesville to repair her mother’s house and she also wanted to use her interior design gift to repair the homes of Rosewood descendants.
âIt’s a spiritual journey for me to come back,â Vaughn said. âEveryone deserves to live in a beautiful space. There is power in art and living in a beautiful space.
His father, Lawson Brown Sr., was known for his landscaping skills in Gainesville and for his carpentry in the community of Rutledge, in northwest Gainesville. Rutledge formed as a black community in the mid-1800s. Gainesville at the time was small – perhaps a block long – and black people often established settlements in what were then rural areas.
Vaughn attributed his love for design and service to helping others through his father’s work. In fact, Vaughn’s father’s name is on a plaque outside the historic Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville for doing the landscaping when the building was renovated years ago.
âMy father taught me to heal through the landscapes he designed,â Vaughn said. âThere isn’t a lawn in Gainesville that my father didn’t build.
She wanted the Rosewood descendants to be the first recipients to have their home repaired through Healing Homes by Design.
âImagine living in a space where you can’t live anymore,â Vaughn said. ” I’m on a mission. She (Lizzie Jenkins) deserves to walk in a space and be at peace. It has served enough. The pieces she has in rosewood should be in a museum.
Jenkins, Founder of The Real Rosewood Foundation Inc., gave an oral presentation on the history of Rosewood and its residents.
The Rosewood Massacre occurred in early January 1923 when homes of black residents were destroyed by fire caused by a white mob after a white woman claimed she was raped by a black man, who was ended up being lynched during the chaos.
âI am blessed to be a part of Rosewood history,â Jenkins said.
Jenkins remembered when Vaughn called her about the fundraising idea and she was proud to see the idea come to fruition.
âI am honored to witness the birth of a dream,â Jenkins said. âShe told me about her plan, and today it really happened. She’s perfect. God put people in your life for a reason.
Jenkins said she was grateful to be a part of Vaughn’s mission to help rebuild the homes of Rosewood descendants, and she wants the community to support Vaughn in his efforts.
âThese are about our future generations,â Jenkins said. âWe must remember and appreciate the sacrifices of our ancestors. Because of them, we are. Without them, we are nothing.
Virginia Lynn, owner of Cereal Rush, held a pop-up store for her business at the event.
âIt is important for us to stay united when someone is doing something good in the community,â said Lynn. âWe have to do our best to come together.
Lynn also has event planning skills and used them to help Vaughn with fundraising.
âI had the time, so I was happy to be a part of it,â said Lynn. “It’s a story that a lot of people don’t know.”
Lynn said that black mutual support is essential for the long-term success of black businesses and communities.
âWhen something happens, we have to support it in any way we can,â Lynn said. âIt doesn’t have to be money; this may be your time.
Steven Lara, owner of Caffe Sabroso, greeted guests in his cafe and gave a brief introduction.
âI love art,â Lara said. âI wanted to do something different in the community.
The fundraiser featured wine from Micanopy Winery, operated by Matthew and Crystal Bowman, which featured wine named Bowman Vineyard and Farmhouse for guests to drink.
It also featured artwork by Atlanta artist Steven “Bumpcasso” Hill.
Hill’s childhood nickname was “Bumpy” and his favorite artist is Pablo Picasso. He showcased celebrity artwork and abstract art throughout the cafe.
âI am honored to be here,â Hill said. âIt’s important to let people see more positive people to admire. We need to give time and effort to our community. First we have to do it ourselves. Don’t wait for someone to do something.
Since launching his fundraiser, Vaughn has raised approximately $ 12,000.
Vaughn’s goal is to raise $ 100,000. She will use $ 25,000 to renovate the homes of four Rosewood descendants.
For more information on how to donate, contact Vaughn by email at [email protected]
For more information on Melody Vaughn Interiors, visit www.melodyvaughninteriors.com.