Last Sunday, Margie, my mother and myself attended an ownership meeting for a food co-op that we belong to. One of the themes that was stressed over and over again was a sense of community. There was mention that co-op owners made up a community of concerned citizens doing their best to help small business. That owners of that owners of that particular co-op represented a community of people concerned about access to healthy and sustainable food. It made me think how many different communities each of us belong to. There are so many.
We belong to religious communities. We belong to political communities. We belong to cultural communities. When we are at the grocery store, we belong to a community that shops at that store. In my 23 years of bartending, I noticed that was the main reason people went to corner bars. It wasn’t the delicious and healthy food served there. It wasn’t even the charming and handsome bartender, despite my attempt at believing otherwise. It was a sense of community. For many of them it was a makeshift family.
Many of our communities try to divide us and become exclusive. The first two examples on my list are really good at that. Instead of falling for that, I ask you to take a different approach. Focus on all of the communities you are a part of. As I write this, I am sitting in a coffee shop. I am part of the community of people that chose to come to this coffee shop today. In this community there are many different races, ages and genders. I would guess there are many different political beliefs as well, You know what though? We are all in this community. After this, I plan to go to the gym. Another community there. Focus on what groups you are part of. Be inclusive instead of exclusive. It would be fun for you to list some of your favorite communities you are a part of.