How Can We Build Community?

02.12.2011| by Tracey

Every person on this planet has a need for safety and security, belonging and happiness, but as we sit at a stoplight hoping it turns green before the man with the “Will work for food” sign makes his way to our window, we are contributing to our collective wounds.

It’s easy to point fingers and lay blame, yet if we want to create peaceful, abundant, and thriving communities, then we must work collaboratively to heal by providing those who have been disenfranchised with the supports they need to recover and return to productive life within the community.

While we may express concern and offer care for those with physical ailments, too often those experiencing mental illness and trauma are faced with imprisonment and homelessness. With each action we take that maintains status quo we further destabilize our communities, and we expend energy that could instead be invested in creating safe and healthy communities.

We must accept that most of the people currently serving time want to change their lives for the better, but they lack the skills and supports needed to make that happen. We must recognize that Veterans suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can find peace and can reintegrate into their communities and families. We must acknowledge that we can move beyond diagnoses and labels, so that those with mental illness can break the cycle and reclaim their lives.

If we want to see real community, we must recognize that we are all better of if we work to help the disenfranchised by providing them opportunities to heal. We must recognize that in our interdependence there is strength to overcome great burdens and strife.

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