In a time when incivility seems to be on the rise, recently I had an interesting conversation with a bank employee. She told me two stories from her ‘hood.
She was at a local, non-chain eatery recently with her Latina neighbor and her neighbor’s special needs child. Nearby diners started making derogatory comments both about her neighbor’s ethnic makeup and the child’s appearance. The mother told the diner off for her racism and rudeness.
And the entire small restaurant clapped.
Then the server told the rude diners that the restaurant would cover the price of their meal, but that they were never to come in the restaurant again.
This bank employee lives in one of the grittier parts of the city. She says her block is safe, but that if you go 3 blocks in any other direction, you have to be careful.
What makes her block safe is that neighbors looks out for each other and have regular block club meetings and potlucks where people share their country’s food-Hmong, Somali, and other East African nations.
She is honorary grandmother to her Somali neighbor’s small children and babysat one of them when the other was born. She buys special treats for the children so that when they drop over she can spoil them.
She is not that unusual. I know a schoolboard member who knows all the children by name and family on her block, and acts as a secret Santa, dropping off small presents on their doorsteps during the holidays.
All of this is to say that if you feel depressed about where this country is at the moment, that there is always action you can take to make your corner of the world better.
As Mother Teresa said once, “Do small things with great love.”
May we pursue our paths, remembering we can always create the world we want in our own backyards,