- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
"A Question of Place": An essay on the power of community
With all the news about the library and pool closings and Chinatown’s fight against a Center City slots barn, one thread ties these struggles together – the love of community. These struggles aren’t so much against something as much as they are a powerful statement of the sanctity of sacred spaces in our neighborhoods, of the rare places where the fabric of community is built, where our relationships with one another are fostered and cherished, and where lessons and values are passed onto new generations. Our communities are the heart of civil society.
As Philadelphia’s Chinatown fights a proposed casino mere feet from its doorstep, I’ve been thinking a lot these days about why saving Chinatown means so much to me.
Several years ago my youngest son, who studied kung fu and Beijing Opera in Chinatown, told me: "My favorite place to be is Chinatown. I know everyone there. I can walk around and hang out. The guy in the laundromat always gives me candy and everyone knows I’m a lion dancer and the old people all smile at me."
Chinatowns around the country represent an increasingly rare phenomenon. They are communities in the deepest sense: places not only defined by geography but also by memory and relationships. It is why my son would rather buy his candy in Chinatown even though he could get it cheaper at Walmart. When he buys his candy in Chinatown, he knows the clerks, he feels happy to see them and they are happy to see him.
The responsibility that comes with relationships and knowing that there is something bigger than yourself is part of what makes a community live — it is part of what makes us fundamentally human. It isn’t just about a geographic area. It is about emotion, about connection to a place.
It is a deeply moving and personal piece, especially at a time when our struggles seem greatest. As she writes:
"True progress has to do with the human heart and the relationships we build and sustain over time. Our future as a city is not about me and mine, not about rugged individualism, but about collective
responsibility. It’s about what is ours — all of ours.
When you see us in the streets protesting, this is why we fight.
Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczy wrote a nice Friday column about this as well. Ronnie was kind enough to reprint Debbie's essay on her blog post. And of course, you can find it at Asian Americans United’s website as well.