Friday Food For Thought: What does it mean to rebuild a community?

We discuss “rebuilding” our communities on a daily basis in some aspect. I assume everyone has their own idea of what that means as well as what that looks like. If we are to “rebuild” our communities, we would be trying to accomplish something that we once had. For as long as this country has existed, we have had many communities, that for one reason or another haven’t survived. They varied from one town to the next, as do most communities around the globe. I wonder what exactly are we attempting to replicate?

Some people would argue that we have never had any communities that we would want to “rebuild” in 2018. Others would argue that Tulsa, Oklahoma a.k.a. Black Wall Street is the idea that we should replicate. Perhaps, even on a large scale. These ideas would mean “rebuilding” physical communities that operate largely within themselves.

Some may argue that “rebuilding” community isn’t necessarily about the location but about the people. I recently watched a video on Facebook of a group of men encouraging a man they didn’t know to eat a can of dog food in a “dog food challenge”. It was clear that he was embarrassed by his situation. He sat and ate the can of dog food while the other men sat around watching, laughing and recording, even after he asked them not to record. We’ve all seen the violent videos in which someone is seriously injured and instead of one of many viewers stepping in to help, they would rather pull out a phone and record. There is no sense of “community” in these videos. They tend to be degrading, inhumane and sometimes dangerous. Perhaps “rebuilding” our community is an approach to return to uplifting your neighbor and at the very least helping them rather than treating their worst moments as a source of entertainment.

I think “rebuilding” our communities means reducing the income and education gaps within our communities. Our focus should be on building wealth, obtaining positions of power, having more access to politics and media that influence us and regulate our lives. These things require hard work, changing the outlook or mindset of the people within our communities, educating them and a desire or willingness to stick around and help maintain what’s been built, rather than leaving as soon as we can.

What do you think it means to “rebuild” a community?

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