Sunday, January 08, 2006
How to Build a Community
To change cities and neighborhoods you must build authentic communities of people.
That is one of our fundamental operating principles here in Dallas. Even when we are not successful or when we simply fail, we never forget the goal because of its absolute importance.
For years I have been ordering materials from the Syracuse Cultural Workers. I recently came across a poster with a tremendous message. We now have two posters hanging in our headquarters building--one in English, the other in Spanish. The message is worth sharing here.
Titled, "How to Build Community," the poster reads:
Turn off your TV. Leave your home. Know your neighbors. Look up when you are walking. Greet people. Sit on your stoop. Plant flowers. Use your library.
Play together. Buy from local merchants. Share what you have. Help a lost dog. Take children to the park. Garden together. Support neighborhood schools. Fix it even if you didn't break it.
Have pot lucks. Honor elders. Pick up litter. Read stories aloud. Dance in the street. Talk to the mail carrier. Listen to the birds. Put up a swing. Help carry something heavy.
Barter for your goods. Start a tradition. Ask a question. Hire young people for odd jobs. Organize a block party. Bake extra and share. Ask for help when you need it. Open your shades.
Sing together. Share your skills.
Take back the night. Turn up the music. Turn down the music.
Listen before you react to anger. Mediate a conflict. Seek to understand.
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles.
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.