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Transcript of Community
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."
In "Home at Last," Dinaw Mengestu said, "What I had wanted and found in them, what I admired and adored about Kensington, was the assertion that we can rebuild and remake ourselves and our communities over and over again..."
My Sense of Community
How do I define community?
Each and every community is different. The Wenatchee Valley community has an old home- style vibe to it, but is also diverse. There are people who have completely different lives, likes and dislikes, ethnicities, and ideas. If no one was to contribute to the community, the community would lose its sense of identity. Inside a community, people cannot just expect to receive all the benefits of the community without giving anything back. My responsibility to the Valley is to stay involved, and give back. One way I have stayed involved is with volunteering inside local events and charities. I have also stayed involved with playing in the Valley sponsored sport programs, meeting new people, and trying new things. Since being accepting is key to a successful community, I have tried to involve myself in events that would allow me to experience their different lifestyles by attending different churches, restaurants with different types of food, and helping with the special olympics.
What is your responsibility to the Wenatchee Valley?
What is community?
As the technology of the 21st century progresses, communities are continued to be formed. However, a new type of community is formed for the first time--an online community. Now, people do not even have to see each other face to face to be considered "friends." Also, the social media makes it easier to stay in touch with people one may never see anymore, thus keeping the old community ties they had before strong.
How can the community change and grow as technology advances?
If everyone was the same, there would be no diversity. There would be nothing new to learn, nothing new to experience, and nothing new to eat. Every different culture can create something beautiful. The Spanish create intriguing dances, the Egyptians created the pyramids, the Africans create songs and art, and the Americans create architecture. The world would be very boring if everyone thought and looked the same. When different cultures come together, it makes a beautiful environment and community that allows everyone to feel like they belong.
In the 21st century, the actual definition of community is changing. Communities do not have to be filled with people who all look the same or people who come from the same culture. I define community by a group of people who are all different, but accept and integrate with each other, who share the same values or live in the same area. Although the people may look different, they can still come together to form a sense of community. The key word here is "can." Communities do not form themselves, the people need to choose to be accepting of the diversity of different cultures, and share theirs as well. Community cannot be forced, only formed.
In this essay, Mengestu moves into a new suburb, knowing no one. Kensington is full of diverse, embracing people who have all brought their own bits of their heritage and culture to one place, thus forming one tight knit community. Mengestu, for the first time, feels like he has found his "home." If the diverse community was isolated from each other, only accepting the "norm", Mengestu would not have been able to feel this way. Kensington is the perfect example for how the differences between members of a community can overlap to create something great, where many different people can feel like they belong.
What is the relationship of the individual to the community?
As Aaker and Smith write, "Social media are particularly effective at increasing motivation" (qtd. in Gladwell).
One of the major pros of technology is that it can help spread the word about events, needs, or news better than ever before. It is much easier for everyone to stay involved and updated about their communities and its on goings, and has helped to increase the participation inside each community.
As an individual, it is one's responsibility to stay involved in the community. A community is not involuntary, it needs people's participation to function well. However, the individuals cannot be isolated from everyone else. They must have connections to other people and be able to accept others differences in order to make the community successful.
How can an individual maintain integrity and pursue personal dreams while contributing to the overall community?
Just because an individual belongs to a community, does not mean that they cannot have their own beliefs or dreams. The different, individual dreams each person has, are what drive the community. If everyone thought and acted the same, the community would be bland. No new ideas could be made, nothing new would be learned. One individual may have a strong belief with religion, and could end up founding a church in the community. Another could found a soccer team, a movie theater, or a new park. All these would be caused because of the drive and want of one person inside the community, but it would also benefit others as well.
How can we belong to several communities simultaneously?
A community is formed from numbers of different cultures, or mini communities, coming together to form one larger body. It is very common and easy for individuals inside this larger body to have ties to other communities. If one was to have a Facebook, he/she has a place in the Facebook community. If one was to have heritage from Spain, he/she would have a place inside the Spanish community as well. If one was to belong in a club, or was to go to a school or church, he/she would have a place their as well. It is very easy to belong to many different communities simultaneously, so much so that people do not even realize it. In society today, it is even looked well upon if one is apart and involved in many different communities.
"I am a child of the Americas..
I am a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew..
I am Caribena, island grown..
I am new...
I am whole. "
In her poem, "Child of the Americas," Aurora Levins Morales captures accepting diversity at its finest. In a community, a person should not be ashamed of being different. It should be embraced. Morales acknowledges her ties to all the different communities proudly. Having places in different communities simultaneously can be as simple as having heritage from there. Not all communities ties are made, some are given at birth, but it is up to the individual to keep those ties.
How would you define the
High School community?
Eastmont High School is made up of many little communities inside the larger Eastmont community. It is filled with diverse students with different ethnicities, beliefs, ideas, and values. The high school community functions well because of the students ability to be accepting and welcoming to students who are different than them. If the students were not accepting, the community would not function at all. It would be hard to learn because of all the distractions caused by the isolation of students. To make the high school the best learning experience possible, the community must be able to accept everyone's differences.
My Responsibility in Eastmont
My responsibility in the Eastmont High School community is to stay involved. I have done so by playing sports, attending social events, and participating in clubs. Doing these things makes my ties to Eastmont even stronger because I have met many new people thus gaining ties to other communities. Because Eastmont is made up of many little communities, by doing new things and meeting new people, has caused me to have ties with many of the little communities.
The "good life" can be achieved by being happy, being content, and being accepting of others. If one was to spend their whole life not liking other people because they were different than him/her, the person would live a very lonely and boring life. They would never experience or see new things because they were made from someone who was different. The "good life" can be lived well by simply living life to best you can--by staying involved, by meeting new people, by seeing and experiencing new cultures. If one was to stay a hermit his/her whole life, never leaving the house and staying alone, it is not common for this to be considered the "good life."
"Over the last twenty years more than a dozen large studies...have shown that people who are socially disconnected are between two and five times more likely to die from all causes, compared with matched individuals who have close ties with family, friends, and the community."
In his book,
Health and Happiness
, Robert D. Putnam reports his research's findings-- that being involved effects your actual health. Most people would not consider living the "good life" while often being sick. But not being involved doesn't have only physical symptoms, it can also effect a person's mental health. Often times, on a bad day talking to a close friend helps make it better. But if isolated, there would be no way to make the bad day better. The "good life" should not be lived isolated, but shared with others. The "good life" can be lived well and healthily while being involved with communities.
In the painting, "Freedom from Want," the good life is captured. Everyone is happy, together, and bonding. The "good life" is not spent alone, it is spent with others. In the "Last Thanksgiving", people are gathered together, however, no one looks as happy. This is because although they are together, everyone is still isolated from each other. There is no blending taking place, everyone is so focused on themselves they cannot even have the Thanksgiving dinner. This is not what the "good life" is about.
How can the "good life" be lived well?
In his letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote out his hopes to the clergy men. MLK backed by his religious beliefs and desire to be equal, had become a major leader in the civil rights movement. If he had not acted upon his own individual beliefs, the community would not have gained such an influential person during that time. Community is not about conformity, it is about allowing everyone's own ideas and thoughts to be accepted. Where people's diversity come together, like mosaic tiles, is how close communities are formed.
"Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty."
How will the definition of community change in the future?
In the future, ties in the community may become very weak. Due to the new social media "communities", people do not even have to see people face to face to talk. People may be "friends" on Facebook, when in reality have never even seen each other in real life. The definition of community in the future may change to only including the ties formed online. If this was to happen, people would miss out on all the real benefits of a community. Online you may see pictures of events and people gathering, but in a real community, you get to witness the on goings first hand.