Today is the first day of Kwanzaa. The African American specific holiday is seven days, which each day having a principle rooted in African heritage. Ms. V has decided to celebrate Kwanzaa, with a Ward 7 twist. For the next seven days, I'll present a principle and my hope for Ward 7 based on that principle.
The principle for today is:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
February 2012, will mark 6 years of my residency in Ward 7. In my short tenure I've developed a deep affinity for my community. In all the places I've lived (I've lived all over the country), this is the first place that feels like home.
Despite the warm feelings about this ward, there is still much divisiveness. Young vs old, newcomers vs native, North vs South, low income vs middle income, and this list goes on. Some of this comes from a vocal minority, and some times it comes from making assumptions about each other versus seeking to understand one another. For example, I was in Capitol View Civic Association meeting and a gentleman stated that Hillcrest doesn't have the "$300 cash for clunker" signs because Hillcrest gets better city services. I told him the reason Hillcrest doesn't have the signs is because residents rip them down. There is one gentleman in Hillcrest who rides his bike around the community almost daily to take them down.
The redistricting process is a prime example of what happens when we don't work together for a common good. As the old adage goes "united we stand, divided we fall". As long as the divisive forces exist we will continue to get okie doked.
My hope for 2012 is that as a ward we can take the time to get to know each other, learn about the history, and develop a collective future.