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.
Larry's new book, now available from Amazon.com! Also, now in Kindle format! To place your order visit Amazon.com today! Also, available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on the web. Click on the image above to order!
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.