With the installation at 24th and Locust complete, here, mothers are will continue to grow in this digital space, through submissions of stories, thoughts, and photographs. We begin with a wonderful person who has been a direct and indirect presence throughout the entire process.
When we visited Sister Ann Halloran in her home a few weeks back, she mentioned that she spends time writing every day. Since Sister Anne has had such an important history with the Dominican Center and the surrounding Amani Neighborhood, we asked her to write something for this project.
Generous as always, Sister Anne agreed, writing a piece on the theme of what one might assume from an exterior, and what one can find on the inside.
“ I want my outside to connect with my inside so that my spirit can both live within me and also show on the outside of me.”
The above excerpt comes from the writings of one of the Dominican Center students, Doris Gant. I believe that she has described profoundly what is at the heart of the Amani neighborhood community: the dream of obtaining the freedom, opportunity and courage to speak from their hearts and put into action the power, potential and strength of their voices.
Anyone taking a cursory drive through the neighborhood may be left with the stereotypical attitude concerning the area; namely, that it is ‘crime ridden and drug infested’. Primarily this is because of viewing the outside, the run down housing stock, apparent unemployment and absence of beautiful landscaping. The area looks untidy, in need of attention and depressed.
However, a more prolonged visit, where one takes the time to understand the life of the neighborhood from the inside. Where one comes with an open mind, a listening ear and a non-arrogant eye, a far different attitude will be created. The experience will leave one with questions, constructive questions such as: How can we build community together? How can we assist each other with access to resources? How can all of us together, sharing our expertise? How can we work towards the ideal of developers coming from community membership rather than outside entrepreneurs? It will also leave one with respect and wonderment at the strong constituents who have steadfastly and persistently, if not always successfully, faced and addressed the numbing violence of poverty.
Taking these questions seriously, discussing them thoroughly with all those involved can and will lead to constructive and transformative action. Poverty is man made, so is a safe and secure community. The dream is eminently possible. This is the belief and the vision of the DCW as an active member of the Amani neighborhood. Martin Luther King’s vision of the ‘beloved community’ has been at the heart of the ministry and mission of the Dominican Center since its inception.
The DCW has had the opportunity and privilege of establishing lasting friendships and relevant relationships with the Amani neighborhood through its presence there for over 22 years. The Center has accomplished this by fostering partnerships with the city and other neighborhood institutions; by developing a monthly gathering of area residents concerned about maintaining a strong and safe community; and, most importantly, by fashioning its own growth and development according to the will and imagination of the people. As a result, the Center has become a hub of neighborhood activity, a haven of peace where individuals can pursue their dreams and a living example of what is possible when people work together for the common good.