Who Are Our Neighbors?
According to the US Census (estimates for 2019), we live in a very diverse city, one whose demographics are similar to the state’s, but markedly different from the overall population of the U.S. (See here for comparison of US, TX, and Waco.) For 2019, the US Census estimates that our city is ~43% White, ~32% Hispanic, ~21% Black or African American, and ~4% Other.
Zooming in to the more local Good Neighbor Community, those living nearest to us, this source shows more clearly the diversity of our Sanger Heights neighborhood: ~48% Hispanic, ~25% Black / African American, and ~24% White.
Why might this information be important?
It’s important for us to remember what we say we want the idea of Good Neighbor to enable in our community. Here’s an excerpt from our website, as we explain “What We Do“:
Good Neighbor House is meant to be a place in the Sanger Heights neighborhood and the Waco community where our residents of the house and cottage (Resident Volunteers), our leadership team, volunteers, and neighbors provide opportunities to grow and learn from one another. At the Good Neighbor House we “love our neighbors” by providing space and educational and social programs to encourage, enable, and enrich diverse opportunities for fellowship.
Learning about, respecting, and coming to know our neighbors better are perhaps the most important things we can do if we hope to “[c]reate and maintain a safe and welcoming community space for all neighbors: individuals, families, and groups”; and to “build community among neighbors.”
When we use words and phrases such as “community” and “fellowship,” we want to remember the value and challenges of practicing hospitality among diverse individuals. And we want to always remember that learning about and valuing diverse others can lead to unique and empowering changes in how we all live among and with others.
At Good Neighbor we believe that our diverse community, our different cultural practices and understanding, are important. If we think of our community as an ecosystem, one we want to maintain and help to thrive and grow, we remember that variety is necessary for a thriving ecosystem. So is cooperation.
Being a Good Neighbor means respecting and valuing others. The rich diversity in our neighborhood is an asset that we can use to enrich all of our lives and create connections among us all.
The Good Neighbor House wants to be a place to enable these connections. We invite our “neighbors” to help us make this happen.
Share ideas in the “Comments” for this post. Pandemic permitting, how can we promote the multi-faceted concept of being good neighbors?
Love your explanation! Continuing to model welcoming behaviors is one key; your garden, your Little Free Library, your Clothing swap (during a normal year), and other interactive but safe events help us all learn and connect! Thanks to all the volunteers and residents! Abby