Call it wishful thinking or call it just like it is… people who live in some of most troubled urban neighborhoods want what every good law abiding person desires… a better quality of life. They want to live in a great neighborhood, one that is safe, peaceful, with good schools, high employment, great shopping and of course filled with good neighbors. However, a high percentage these urban neighborhoods are in crisis, decline, and neglect and in need of long term solutions.
The challenges include crumbling infrastructure, dilapidated housing, boarded up buildings, business flight, underperforming schools, high unemployment, lack of educational training, high poverty, a disarray of social services, crime and the list goes on and on. No one solution can fully address any of these problems that have only grown over the decades.
It is easy to judge and to make suggestions for change when you don’t live in those affected neighborhoods. Some people would rather put their heads in the sand, look the other way and pretend that these problems are not there. They are glad that the problems are in someone else’s backyard and so they don’t have to deal with them. And each and every day, the media reports underscore the tragedies and challenges that are occurring in neighborhoods throughout the city.
For those living in those neighborhoods their view and perspective are quite different, for they often ask… “Why is this happening?” and “will someone please help us?” Too often residents are so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ongoing issues, they don’t even know where begin in solving a particular problem. Some problems are not quick fixes, due to their sheer size, scope and complexity. In other words, urban America residents need help to solve problems.
They also want people who seek opportunities to work in urban America to also live there, it’s only fair. It is one of the most effective ways to really understand what it will take to make urban neighborhoods better. We have to remember that residents living in urban America deserve a chance to succeed, and an opportunity to make things better. Then here is the deal…. if we can work together… then why can’t we live together? Let us never underestimate the power of being on the same page.