Growing up in a small, rural community was wonderful in so many ways. Of course at the time I couldn't wait to get away. Now I miss it so very much.
This was a place where if your neighbors barn burned down, everyone got together to help rebuild it. This was a place where everyone knew everyone, and all of their business. This was a place where the owner of the feed store, taught school and drove the bookmobile. This was a place that once when I was driving down the road Mrs. Krauss came out to the side of the road and flagged me down. She told me that my mother had just called and asked her if she could catch me she needed to get some more of the Krauss'fabulous apples for the pies she was baking. This was a place where I not only knew all of the two-legged animals, I also knew all of the four-legged animals too.
I miss all of that . That sense of community. Yes, there were some drawbacks, especially when we first moved out to the country, but I am not going to get into that here. For the most part it was great.
The Syracuse Cultural Workers publishes a wonderful catalog full of posters, buttons and a wonderful calendar. The 2005 edition is hanging on my wall. They call themselves peace and justice publishers and they have wonderful products dedicated to both, and more.
The following sentiment about community building is available in a poster and bookmark in English and Spanish.
How To Build Community
Turn off the TV. Leave your house.
Look up when you’re walking.
Sit on your stoop. Plant flowers.
Use your library. Play together.
Buy from your local merchants.
Share what you have. Help a lost dog.
Take children to the park. Honor elders.
Support neighborhood schools.
Fix it even when you did not break it.
Have pot luck suppers. Garden together.
Pick up litter. Read stories aloud.
Dance in the street.
Talk to the mail carrier.
Listen to the birds. Put up a swing.
Help carry something heavy.
Barter for your goods.
Start a tradition. Ask a question.
Hire young people for odd jobs.
Organize a block party.
Bake extra and share.
Ask for help when you need it.
Open your shades. Sing together.
Share your skills.
Take back the night.
Turn up the music. Turn down the music.
Listen before you react to anger.
Mediate a conflict. Seek to understand.
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles.
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard.
Work to change this.
"A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess."
-A. Philip Randolph