Dear readers, now a days the term “building communities” has been coined and utilized frequently. In occasions well and in others not so well. Let us not focus on the negative, but on the positive side of this term.
Deep into a conversation with my son the other day, we talked about communities that were kept alongside a margin because they were heavy on drug abuse or violence. The people who live within these neighborhoods are not random people, but they are united as well. The only difference is that they have another set of experiences that form who they are and will become.
And I’m more than sure that within them emerge souls with abundant creativity and spirituality despite the surrounding they live with every day. A famous name that pops in my head is Alicia Keys who was raised in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan and is a beacon of hope and light to this world through her beautiful music. Her testimonial of the community she grew up in describes the struggles she faced each day.
Communities evolve, they change, they go through metamorphosis to come to a full circle. For example, my own community. Seventy years ago it was a very poor rural community in the mountains on the western side of the main island of Puerto Rico. Today we stand strong together, we carry our ancestors legacy forward, we live in a sustainable way. Our houses are no longer built with mud and straw, but strong enough to face the hammering of a category five hurricane. Our eyes are no strangers to disaster and chaos.
Talking about building communities without taking the people that live within them is a futile exercise. We strengthen what we have and we make a better place to live, with all its good and its bad.
You can come along and fix a broken window and show the people who live in a certain community how nice the house looks trying to inspire them to achieve this and it might not work. On the other hand, first you inspire them to become their better self and guide them to reach within themselves to remember how to fix that same broken window and the results will be a restored home for a restored person or family.
We’ve become a society of waste! Our way of fixing things is not the restoring approach but the all things new one, and we’ve taken that into our social work. Politicians, grass root organizations, religious organizations, and others should rename the term “building communities” to “restoring communities”. My humble point of view is that maybe it could serve a higher purpose.
See you around the corner. Hasta pronto!