Saturday, April 23, 2011

Face-off for Neighborliness, Visits, Is Resurrection

When St. Clair Shores was wrapped in Michigan's frigid cold last
January, a feisty crowd gathered in that city's library on the icy edge of Lake
St. Clair at Eleven Mile Road at Jefferson.

An even larger group meets April 25th at 5:30 pm for a Spring birth
and resurrection of sorts with their State Rep. Anthony Forlini, teens,
residents, and, business leaders.

Once again, hibernating neighbors now emerge and poke out of thier homes like Easter flowers of yellow and white protrude for sunlight from the dark earth they force green blades and more.

Intensive Communities Uniting Neighbors, a proposed name for the organization by the watchful Macomb participants,will try to make sense of the Tucson shooting massacre that shocked some the same month planners began to meet.

Clergy and citizens everywhere in this nation spoke up about the virtiolic political culture, a ban on automatic weapons, and, a heightened sense for mental health referrals.

One reporter aimed elsewhere for the blame, however.

Jared Loughner, the deranged loner who killed six in a small mall marketplace in Arizona, seemed unknown to his neighbors nearby the home where he lived.

Everyone keeps to themselves.

That seemed to summarize the neighborhood's attitude, the writer discovered.

And, the scary part of that apt description of neighbors of Loughner is that it fits the wild and estranged killer as much as most neighbors today.

They keep to themselves.

We do, don't we?

Test your own experience, and, when you talked with your own neighbors next door.

"You got to be practical," a Warren woman said recently when a communal penance service this week nuanced love of God and neighbor, in Roseville's historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church that marks 150 years in the neighborhood.

"How do I know if they're checking out my house to rob if I greet them," she excused herself.

My own neighbors and I talk intermittently, it at all, only when I walk my dog, or, when home invasions occur, like weeks ago, for example, when two condominiums next to where I reside in Harrison Township, MI., were ransacked after being broken into a little after nine in the morning in Macomb County, miles north of the city limits of Detroit.

Everyone huddled together suddenly. Intruders in a big red truck parked close to the condominiums, stole what they wanted in one place, and were yelled at from the top of the stairwell in another unit by the owner who heared the front door breaking open.

The robbers, strange to admit, bridged neighbors who now need to build and bond as eyes of the neighborhood watch and work overtime, as if to say, "I see you!" Let's take time to talk!

If only neighbors would talk again like in the old days when I was growing up and people sat on their front porches as we passed or played touch football in the street.

Last week, in Dearborn, MI., inter-faith traditions came together under heavy camera and celebrity light when Pastor Terry Jones gripped media magnets in his attempt to protest in front of the Islamic House of Wisdom Mosque.

The decline of the social self and the common good runs rampant in this land that relishes individual rights in our U.S. Constitution that also serve the social side.

Shortly after the Industrial Revolution, people seemed to stop watching and staying awake to each other. Spirituality is about waking up, and, noticing.

My own parents, among so many others, and so varied of lands, who were born of Polish immigrants and frontier farmsteads in Cheboygan and Post Austin, MI., came to rural cities, such as Detroit's Motown in Michigan.

That was in the late 19th and 20th centuries, when they never seemed to lose that social and spiritual self that included a safety net that looked after their own sibings and society, and, their neighbors nearby.

Churches also were the social centers nourishing the deepest yearnings of the human soul, only to be replaced today by the marketplace malls, and more vying for the shopper's savings, or, serving as the gathering place for gangs of young people seeking acceptance of peers.

Anonymity was unheard of with neighbors who sat on their porch on Detroit's east side near the City Airport on French Road near Connor Avenue, where my family of nine grew up and marched daily in a long procession to Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, miles south on Van Dyke at Miller.

On our way back from school by 3 pm each day, neighbors who sat on their porch waved to us.

Porch mentors is a social system the young people of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion emphasized, and want to initiate again, the idea teens spoke up with ICU neighbors months ago when they met about reducing crime in St. Clair Shores.

At first, one young leaders said, "Why crime? There's no crime here." But, by meeting's end, she crossed of that thought on the large poster print paper.

The jobless, poor, friendless, and, needy of all sorts didn't seem to fall through the cracks so much a century or less ago.

Neighborliness was a goal built into each city block decades ago. Neighborhood Watch programs and signage of the 60s are popping up like tulips these days. And, ICU is reviving the watchful eyes.

Wakefulness of a sleeping Nation is not a nostalgic cry for the past, but a need now as it was in this land's revered story, and, lng before pilgrims arrived to get to know differance and diversity.

The two great commandments of all the world's religions, includuing Hinduism and Baha'i, for example, are as fresh today for application in the trenches of city life as when the Maker ordered them for wandering immigrants who quested for community and security.

Homeland security suggests that the best way to stop terrorists is for neighbors to know one another.

This Easter season, resurrecting and recouping of the neighborhood is a recipe that was tried, worked, and was judged flavorful.

Like the aroma of fresh-baked bread, my Polish neighbors, among others on Arcola Street, delivered when someone was ill or out of work, food still serves as a staple for circling others in homes next door.

Bread seems to have a way of reviving an old-fashioned idea of visiting neighbors nearby.

That has to be good, and, even imaginative at a time when such creativity to reduce crime, and, enhance the quality of life in town is overcome by that 9/11 fear that seems to cause paralysis for citizens these days, a decade after the towers tumbled in New York city, and, changed the landscape and minds of many.

To get involved with Intensive Communitieis Uniting Neighbors, contact Cindy Taylor at (313) 405 9645, or, or 586 777 9116,

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. You have some great points in the write up that we can all work on. Thanks.