• Center For Neighborhoods

The Unity in "Community"

Metro Council District 4 Councilman-elect and Center For Neighborhoods board member Jecorey Arthur challenges us to think about our community's shared values. When we come together around common purpose and policy, we can truly make change and support one another.

(Transcript of video)

Peace, love and justice.

My name is Jecorey Arthur. I'm a professor, incoming Councilman, and a Russell resident in the West End of Louisville.

I'm here to talk about the unity in "community". We hear the word "community" a whole lot, and its really just this vague term that's thrown out to talk about three things: a common place, a common people, or a common policy.

We know that neighborhoods are often seen as "communities" because they embody a common place, where you are, on a map: in a city, in a state, in a country, in the world. We often times because of segregation also make "community" mean a community of people because we know that my neighborhood is historically black. The West End of Louisville is historically black. And some areas of town look very different from mine.

What we've been forced to question within ourselves and within others this year, is common policy. What that means is, I believe in the same types of values politically and in terms of social change that you do.

We've seen this play out with neighborhoods across our own city in Louisville, where the Nulu area of town, and the Nulu community, has been called into question in regards to how they feel about racial justice, not only today, but based on what they have participated in and been a part of in the past. This also brings into question the Phoenix Hill neighborhood, who released a letter in support of protestors who were protesting in Nulu. It brings into question the downtown business district. It brings into question Russell itself and how it has been alleged as the centerpiece of Breonna Taylor being killed, because our community is a gold mine and really a target of gentrification.

Common policy is something that is very important, very vital, for your neighborhood to ask itself. Because we know the place, the commonality of where you are. Where you are is important. You have that figured out. Who you are is obvious. You know who lives in your neighborhood. But three, the common policy: What do you believe in?

Where is your neighborhood? Who is your neighborhood? What is your neighborhood?

Asking those questions of Nulu, downtown, Phoenix Hill, and Russell are important. But, the hundreds of neighborhoods in this region need to all have an understanding of their answers to those questions. Because, until you can answer all three, beyond the where and the who, you can't call your neighborhood a community. And you can't call it a community, because it doesn't have unity.

As we reflect on 2020 and look towards the future, we can build community.