Friday, September 08, 2006

Power in numbers

I met a wonderful lady in Turner Courts the other day. Our conversation was like so many others I've had with people in Turner Courts.

She has lived in Turner Courts for about 6 months now. However, she explained, the first three months she didn't physically or mentally move in. Instead, she cried every day because she had to live there. Do we actually believe that people who live in the "projects" want to be there?? I have talked to at least three other people in the last month who have said the exact same thing. People don't enjoy being "in the system" and accepting what is handed to them. She, like so many others I've gotten to know, figure out a way to "survive." They isolate themselves mentally and physically in their home in an attempt to stay away from anything bad that might happen.

What I've figured out is that there are quite a few people like the lady I met yesterday. And they are all attempting survival by doing the same thing...staying inside. As a result, they never discover the other good people in Turner Courts who are also doing the "right thing." So, all people ever see are the ones who aren't scared to go outside and start trouble, thus creating the stereotype that all people in housing developments are bad.

The people who live in the housing developments have bought into that stereotype as well. That's what causes the tears. They know they are not bad people, but society has convinced them that "bad" people live in the "projects." Thus, they figure, they are the only one living there trying to do right.

It's just not true!

One of the parents of some children at our After-School Academy told me just the other day that she would've probably never known any other adults in Turner Courts had she not enrolled her kids at the After-School Academy. She, like so many others, said she just kept to herself. She and another parent are now fast friends. I'm hoping that more parents will begin connecting and all of us can begin working toward solutions as a united front.

That is my goal for this school year.
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