Sunday, March 8, 2009
Diversity in Decision Making
Community centers like Burroughs Community Center are vital to cities. This weekend I attended a neighborhood "Summit" meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to bring all the community organizations together in the same room to ensure no duplication of services and discuss ways to work more closely aligned. While a great deal was accomplished over the course of the day, I was struck by how homogenous the group was, even in light of our truly diverse neighborhood. We brainstormed ideas to bring other organizations to the table. I feel strong that a Community Center is one of the few locations (other than a library or school) which is comfortable for individuals of many different backgrounds. Programs are offered for kids and senior citizens alike. English and Spanish language. We need (Bridgeport) need to capitalize on these capabilities and do a better job of reaching individuals who have been traditionally marginalized or not had a seat at the table. It's time for neighborhoods to have welcoming groups, welcoming newcomers to each neighborhood (home-owners and renters alike). Also, information about community organizations needs to be disseminated in the local churches and translated into Spanish and marketed in the local hispanic businesses. It's time we start creating real "relationships" between neighbors, regardless of their economic, racial, cultural, or religious backgrounds. Diversity is more than living within a three block radius of someone grew up different than you, real diversity is branching out, and creating real lasting relationships. Our children are great at doing this while in school, why can't we???