Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Won’t you be my neighbor? A lesson in community relations | Baltimore Brew

Won’t you be my neighbor? A lesson in community relations | Baltimore Brew:


Won’t you be my neighbor? A lesson in community relations

Anger over a proposed greenhouse at a Hampden high school leads a community activist to reflect on the need for educators to reach out to local communities.

green house at ACCE
Site of a dispute: this hoop house in Hampden has
 spawned opposition from residents on Berry Street, in background.
Photo by: Mark Reutter

The words “civic engagement” are the stuff of academic symposium titles and armchair posturing about the salience of citizen action. But the words actually mean something to me. Maybe it comes from having been transplanted as a nine-month-old to a foreign country, but I think it’s important to put down roots.
I am a naturalized citizen (1976). I am also a relative newcomer to Baltimore (1999) and to Hampden (2008). I don’t take the privilege of living on U.S. soil or this particular patch of it for granted. That’s one reason why I care so much about my neighborhood public school.
Which brings me, or brought me, to the most recent general meeting of the Hampden Community Council last week. I was there on behalf of the new vice president of my neighborhood school’s PTO to invite the community to 

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