Saturday, August 01, 2009

We must work together to move forward

The tragic events that unfolded recently in our community brought us face to face with the reality of violence and crime in our community. These senseless killings have shocked and horrified our community, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. We thank our Police Department for their swift and determined action, and wish them the best as they bring these killers to justice.

So join us: your friends, neighbors, and fellow Duluthians, in making our communities great...There is no better time than now to get involved in your community.
Brendan Hanschen

We are also dismayed at the outpouring of resentment and anger directed at the Central Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods and their residents. Crimes such as these will never be solved or prevented by giving up on our neighborhoods. We invite you to put aside your stereotypes and join us in making the Hillside, and Duluth, a better place. We are not on the front page of the paper, but there are many of us, in every neighborhood, and we are working to make Duluth a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

It is time for us, as a community, to take a stand. No more violence. No more hate. No police department or agency can fix our neighborhoods’ problems. We need to work together to move forward. Pay no heed to those that make anonymous comments online; they clearly do not believe in what they say enough to use their names.

The Hillside is not a “ghetto”. The Hillside is a thriving community with a wonderful diversity of people; this is something to be cherished, not condemned. We should be proud of our neighborhoods of history, character, and beauty. As a resident of Central Hillside, I have had enough of the stereotyping and the disdain for my neighborhood and my neighbors. How about you?
So join us: your friends, neighbors, and fellow Duluthians, in making our communities great. You will not be alone.

The At Home in Duluth collaborative is made up of 24 organizations, government agencies, and community groups. This collaborative is facilitated by the Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Duluth LISC), and includes organizations like CHUM, Northern Communities Land Trust, Community Action Duluth, Neighborhood Housing Services, the City of Duluth, and community clubs from each of the neighborhoods we work in.

We are working to build family assets and income, restore homeownership, train a skilled and productive workforce, provide jobs and affordable housing, organize renters and landlords, reinvest in our businesses and infrastructure, confront racism, reduce crime, and remove blight from our streets.

Community clubs and citizen patrols are hosting block parties, citizen patrolling our streets, cleaning up litter and debris, beautifying our neighborhoods, and building community. However, we need your help. One person truly can make a difference, and there is no better time than now to get involved in your community. After all, we’re all in this together, and volunteering in your community can make for fun, rewarding experiences. You’ll make new friends, meet your neighbors, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor.

For information on how to get involved in your community or for information on any of the At Home in Duluth partners, contact Brendan at Neighborhood Housing Services of Duluth at 727-8604 ext 19.