For the next four weeks Repair the World is devoting our blog to Turn the Tables – our campaign focused on gentrification, and the ways economic, demographic and social changes affect residents of our neighborhoods.
Ensuring that our communities are inclusive for everyone as they transform requires more than sustained policy work and institutional change. Each of us contributes to how our communities feel and operate. We can all work on becoming better neighbors. Join us in weekly challenges leading up to May 6, Lag B’omer, a holiday that’s celebrated 33 days after the first day of Passover. These weekly activities will challenge you to Take Action toward becoming better neighbors in small, but meaningful ways.
Better Neighbor Challenge # 1: Meet Your Neighbors
Our neighbors are the people who live closest to us – our community in its most basic definition. And yet whether we live in an apartment building or house, we often do not know our neighbors well at all. This might be because we value privacy. It might be because we don’t want to bother others. Whatever it is, this disconnect can contribute to a sense of isolation – even in a crowded city. And in the case of changing neighborhoods, it can serve as a block to making meaningful relationships, or organizing to make change.
This week, we’re challenging you to take the time to meet your neighbors in one of the following ways:
-Walk a different street home from work, or visit a grocery store, cafe, or laundromat in a nearby neighborhood.
-Spend a week walking without your headphones (it’s possible, we promise!).
-Say a simple hello to someone you pass every day, but never speak to.
-If the opportunity arises, ask the story of someone who has been in the neighborhood a long time (Try walking the same street you always do, but walk slowly and pay close attention to who’s there, who’s in the shops and stores and what businesses are there.)
None of these actions alone will change the world overnight. But they are profound first steps that can begin to create spaces and relationships.
Ready to take on our Turn the Tables challenge? Send a Tweet with a photo or tag a photo or status on Facebook with @repairtheworld #TurnTheTables demonstrating what you are doing for Week 1 of The Better Neighbor Challenge (& be entered to receive SWAG as a thank you for participating!)