Is it only a place the place individuals stay close to one another or the place they stay collectively?
Just lately, somebody requested me wherein neighborhood I lived, to which I responded Newberg. The response from this particular person was “Newberg has been within the information lots however for all of the fallacious causes.” He was referring to divisiveness involving the college board on this city and considerations about racism locally. Each points have been within the information media over the previous couple of years.
This encounter made me take into consideration the character of neighborhood. What’s neighborhood? What are the qualities of a vibrant neighborhood? If our regional neighbors are seeing Newberg as a city rife with disunity and a scorching spot of racism, what, in reality, is the true nature of our neighborhood?
I think the reply to those questions is complicated, however I want to provide insights.
Like most issues that lie on a spectrum, the idea of neighborhood isn’t any totally different. On one finish of the spectrum is the dictionary definition of neighborhood being “a bunch of individuals residing in the identical place or having a specific attribute in widespread.” That definition is sort of nondescript. A bunch of individuals will be known as a neighborhood just by residing close to each other or inside an outlined boundary reminiscent of Newberg. A neighborhood will be outlined by political views, ethnicity, colour, faith or nationality.
I grew up in Nova Scotia in japanese Canada and there was a neighborhood of African Canadians outdoors of Halifax referred to as Africville. This neighborhood was recognized by race by these outdoors the neighborhood. There are non secular communities such because the Hasidic Jewish neighborhood of New York Metropolis. There are neighborhoods in giant cities distinctive to sure ethnic teams or nationalities. One widespread instance is “Chinatown,” seen in giant cities all through North America.
On the reverse finish of the spectrum, nonetheless, lies a definition of neighborhood that’s richer and presents a nobler imaginative and prescient of what neighborhood may and needs to be. This definition is inclusive of all regardless of their nationality, political views, colour, faith, gender or ethnicity — the place all residents of the neighborhood are valued and revered. In such a neighborhood, as a substitute of the bluster and outburst of illiberal or reactionary voices, the calm and reasoned voices of all residents are given weight and their contributions to the neighborhood valued.
In such a neighborhood there is no such thing as a “othering” the place we recede every into our “ethical tribes” casting blame on the others as being accountable for all that’s unhealthy in our neighborhood. Such a neighborhood displays a tradition of studying embracing a variety of views by means of which all of us are enriched.
There’s a deeper high quality so usually lacking when one seems intently at a neighborhood. What is commonly lacking is the sense of unity in neighborhood. Unity denotes nearer connections than residing near others. It implies greater than merely being of the identical colour, faith, ethnic group, political occasion or nationality (as comforting as that always will be for thus many). It implies studying methods to work collectively throughout such traces to construct vibrant, outward-looking communities which might be inclusive somewhat than remoted silos of people that don’t interact with each other.
It implies constructing a neighborhood of residents who’re involved concerning the materials and religious wellbeing of their neighbors. It implies making a protected house the place all residents can contribute to the important discourses prevalent locally.
Lastly, I’m satisfied that the extra all of us manifest qualities of cooperation, mutual help towards each other, tolerance and understanding, forbearance, humility in our dealings with one another and mutual respect, the extra the neighborhood of Newberg will replicate this nobler definition of neighborhood and we are going to see development in progress and prosperity in our neighborhood.
Jim Ferguson is a Newberg resident.
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