Putting Unity Back into Community
We’re in the most patriotic time of the year. From Memorial Day in May to the remembrance of 9/11 in September, we celebrate holiday after holiday focused on bringing together the country that has allowed us to thrive and build community in the neighborhoods we call home. If you love grilling out on your porch, watching the fireworks, hearing the excited screams and laughs of children on your block, and watching the sunset in a place founded on democratic ideals, you know the summertime well. It might just be the best time in the United States of America.
Yet, while this may still be the reality of your neighborhood, America no longer seems to know how to carry the sentiments of those neighborhoods beyond the fence lines. Neighbors no longer go out of their way to help one another. They don’t rush to buy flags for these holidays or host BBQs for the whole neighborhood. They worry more about associating with those of a different political affiliation than connecting on a human level – about families, friends, jobs, and the everyday worries that consume us all.
The unity in “community”
Unity is the idea that various groups join together in one single organization. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, you can be a part of something larger because of the unity that is built into the community. America was built on this ideology and the Founding Fathers sought a defense against factions that destroyed national unity. Unfortunately, in the past two decades, those factions have crept into our neighborhoods.
Elections, mass shootings, immigration issues, and political candidates are all among the largest drivers of division in America right now. So, what will it take to bring unity back into the communities we hold so dear? And what can you do to help?
How you can play your role
1. Get to know your neighbors
This means really get to know them. Don’t just introduce yourself and bring cookies over once. Connect with them and respect them regardless of their belief system, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, political party or other portion of their background. Our communities grow stronger when we cast out hate.
2. Be a leader in your community
Demonstrate firsthand that bringing the community together is something that you do. If you’re looking to facilitate community, you have to get out there and do it! Participate actively in community events. Sign up to help at a local BBQ, church function, school event, festival, charity run or any other event that the community holds. Do this even if your children aren’t personally participating, you’ve never done it before, or you don’t know anyone else doing it. Neighborhoods always need leaders and bringing the community together means having those stand out individuals who step up to the plate even when it’s difficult.
3. Show don’t tell
Sometimes all it takes is just having a constant reminder that you stand for unity and peace even when there are difficult events taking place. Invest in a beautiful symbol like an American flag that can be displayed inside or outside of your home for your family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to see. The American flag has a long history of standing for harmony. What better way to show that you, too, want to promote this in your neighborhood regardless of who you live next to or what’s happening on the news that day? An American Barrel Flag is a great investment for this purpose. Here are some of our favorites…
- The Classic // American Oak Barrel Flag: A hand-painted and handcrafted flag that you can hang indoors or outdoors (outdoors is always a great way to showcase unity to others!). The red, white, and blue will hang strong and proud for all to see.
- The Vintage // Betsy Ross American Flag: You’re throwing it back to 1776 with this flag. It’s bold and rustic, which makes it the perfect flag for anyone seeking a more vintage look. It still holds the same “for liberty and justice for all” mentality in your community.
- Girl Power // Breast Cancer Awareness: What’s better than adding a little bit of pink to anything? Nothing at all! This flag adds a pop to support any sisters going through a tough time. It’s the best kind of illustration of community. You don’t have to say anything, but people know that you’re thinking about them and sending positive thoughts their way.
- Community Heroes // Firefighter American Flag & Thin Blue Line: Sometimes it’s easy to forget what others do for us every single day if we don’t see it. These flags are incredible because it’s a visual illustration of community heroes who go out of their way to preserve the neighborhoods that we hold dear. Silently support them every single day with this beautiful piece of artwork.
4. Address community violence
Community violence is in every neighborhood, and it can create an incredible amount of disunity among members. Instead of ignoring community violence if it doesn’t impact you. Learn more! Investigate the causes of violence and see what you can do to help. Addressing the causes of violent situations and making a plan to deal with the violence (especially for vulnerable members of the community) can take steps towards resolving it. Often times, education can work wonders, so don’t be afraid to get an anti-violence non-profit involved to help push your community towards peace.
The unity that America once felt has been replaced with ideological tensions like politics and racism. Addressing it in your neighborhood and bringing unity back into community comes down to playing your part. Truly getting to know your neighbors for who they are, being a leader in your community, symbolizing your support through American Barrel Flags, and addressing violence where possible are all among the best actions you can take.