On the award-winning series, Abbott Elementary, actor Tyler James Williams often shows us his Black boy joy through gardening. However, what many don't know is that his love for beautifying urban spaces and vacant lots stems beyond the television screens. It's something he's passionate about in real life. To celebrate National Gardening Day, which is today, April 14, 2023, the Everybody Hates Chris star is teaming up with Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day for an initiative that not only honors his love for getting his hands in the dirt, but one that also seeks to bring joy to communities across the country.
"Growing up in New York, I never really saw gardens or spaces like this, so I didn't know much about it," the actor shares with EBONY. "It wasn't until I got older and had money that I was able to experience the joy that gardening brings. Oftentimes, things like this [gardening] are reserved for the affluent, but the Lots of Compassion initiative with Mrs. Meyer's will help to change that. So I am always down to team up with something that helps to better our communities."
For every Compassion Flower product sold on mrsmeyers.com & Grove Co., $1 will go to the Lots of Compassion Program. The goal is to fund $1 million in grant programs over the next 5 years so that local community gardens and their surrounding communities can thrive.
Williams shares that by allowing Black and Brown communities to have resources to spruce up the often run down vacant lots found in inner cities, it can help not only transform that area, but it can positively impact the residents' mental health as well. Off camera, he often spends time helping out in gardens around Los Angeles. He even recently helped plant Compassion Flowers in the Third Street Elementary School garden.
But, for him, it's also about increasing representation in the gardening space.
"When most people hear gardener, they think of their grandma or aunties. But Black men garden too," shares Williams. "I am proud to help bring that representation to light, but I think the pandemic also really heightened the visibility as well. We're seeing more and more men in the gardening space, and I love it."