How-To-Build-Community poster

Why is it that shortly after you a learn a new word, you bump into that new word everywhere -- in conversation, on the radio, on T.V.? Or say you discover a new actor, next you notice that actor hiding in plain sight on the cast of shows or movies you've watched a number of times. Well, I've recently been focused on community -- not just virtual community, but brick-and-mortar community -- and now I'm realizing many other folks are focused on all aspects of community, too. I suppose my heightened awareness of community is, in part, due to the fact that I'm living in a community that's new to me. Like a new word or newly recognized actor, notions of community have migrated from my subconscious to my conscious mind.

Yesterday, at my new-to-me local coffee shop, The Coffee Depot, I dashed off to the restroom before continuing on with my Saturday, and noticed an unusual poster affixed to the restroom wall. Not an all-employees-must-wash-their-hands kind of poster (though there may have been one of those), but a poster titled How To Build Community published by Syracuse Cultural Workers.

It lists forty-four simple actions you or anyone can take to build community. 

Here's what it says:

"Turn off your TV*Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Greet people*Sit on your stoop
Plant Flowers
Use your library*Play together
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Garden Together
Support Neighborhood Schools
Fix it even if you didn't break it
Have Pot Lucks*Honor Elders
Pick Up Litter* Read Stories Aloud
Dance in the Street
Talk to the Mail Carrier
Listen to the Birds* Put up a Swing
Help Carry Something Heavy
Barter For Your Goods
Start A Tradition*Ask A Question
Hire Young People for Odd Jobs
Organize a Block Party
Bake Extra and Share
Ask For Help When You Need It
Open Your Shades*Sing Together
Share Your Skills
Take Back the Night
Turn Up The Music
Turn Down The Music
Listen Before You react To Anger
Mediate A Conflict
Seek To Understand
Learn From New And
Uncomfortable Angles
Know That No One is Silent
Though Many Are Not Heard
Work To Change This"

It's common sense. It's wise. It's worth doing.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast