Reflecting on my first (almost) three full weeks working with Voices for Earth Justice, I find myself thinking a lot about the meaning of being a good neighbor. I am from a very rural community, and, although my community was close and supportive of one another, I’ve never really experienced having neighbors in the traditional way because of the amount of space separating our homes.
Twice a week, I get the opportunity to work at Hope House and Gardens, which is in the Brightmoor community. I’ve mentioned this in my other blog posts because I really enjoy being outside, but, after my first few weeks, I’ve found that I also love being at the garden because of all community members I have the privilege of interacting with. People that live on the same street as Hope House often stop by to help in the garden or just to chat. It has been so fun for me to create relationships with neighbors and experience how supportive and friendly this community is.
Part of my research for VEJ involves speaking with different community members about their perception of our organization. The common theme of their answers, so far, have been that they respect VEJ and Hope House as a part of their community, and they are happy for the relationships they have with us, too. This has been really interesting for me as our DCBRP cohort discusses how to respectfully enter and work in communities that are not our own. I’m very proud and happy to be working with an organization that has chosen to be intentional with their creation of a relationship with the community they have entered by respecting the identities of our neighbors.