Diversity??? Why, yes, thanks. We have lots. How about you?
From: Elizabeth Stevenson (tamgoddessattbi.com)
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 06:28:16 -0600 (MDT)
 >> . . . is not only commercial and not involving other cohousers, it is a
> right-wing organization. People objected to it politically and
>> personally . . . So we decided that no commercial enterprise
>> would be allowed in the CH, rather than have to make judgement calls on
>> people or organizations.
> 
> I feel compelled to speak to this point.
> 
> It seems fundamentally wrong for one group to decide they don't want another
> group "in their presence" because of philosophical differences. This seems
> dangerous and hypocritical, to say the least.

That is exactly why we decided not to do this. We didn't want to be in a
position to decide who got in and who didn't. By the way, how would you feel
if i said that I wanted to hold business meetings in your commonhouse, and I
owned a combination gun store/porno outlet, and we were going to have
samples at the meeting? Of course this is
> 
> What is the line? Cohousers talk about wanting to make a difference, wanting
> to create neighborhoods where people can "come together" in a different way.
> So if you only hang out with people who look like you and talk like you,
> where is the difference in that? What kind of message does that convey?

> So that may be what this group has done, i.e. by refusing all commercial
> enterprises, it eliminates the necessity of making a judgment call on one
> group vs. another. That prevents one kind of discord. I am wondering if that
> is our aim, to prevent discord? Or is it possibly to find a way through that
> discord to a third possibility?

We are not talking about hanging out with people. We are talking about a
commercial enterprise which was closed to cohousers! There was no meaningful
dialogue to be had. I must stress again that, to my knowledge, we have never
NOT allowed a non-profit group to use the commonhouse. There have been
PLENTY of groups here whose philosophies were not in line with my own, or
others', for that matter.
> 
> I understand some of what we are doing in cohousing to be about embracing
> differences, finding ways to live with the ways in which we are different. I
> find extremists of any flavor difficult to talk to, regardless of political
> affiliation. But I encourage us all to think about the benefits of engaging
> in meaningful dialogue with someone who thinks differently than we do. Of
> course we need a place where we feel comfortable talking freely. But we also
> need to expand our awareness to those who might ask challenging questions of
> us or even make us feel a little uncomfortable.
> 
> Climbing off my soapbox now,
> Cheryl Charis-Graves
> Harmony Village, Golden, CO
> 
> P.S. I speak only for myself, of course, not for Harmony Village

I know you mean well, and I take your point, but it is a little bothersome
to be taken to task for something we haven't done. I hardly speak for my
entire community either; I don't think it's fair to take my whole community
to task in this forum for anything I may or may not have communicated
properly. I was simply trying to relate my experience.

I would also point out that the "hypocrites" who rule this Iraq-like estate
live in what was a run-down section in the urban central city, with no gates
or large pastures or lily-white upper middle class suburbs to keep us from
the other members of this multicultural and impoverished community. Members
of Southside Park Cohousing were instrumental in getting a neighborhood
community center built at a cost of over a million dollars that city leaders
said they didn't have. Members of our group kept the nieghborhood
association from going under at least once.

Members of this community spent 5 years of their lives building this
community, making sure that some homes were avalable to low and
moderate-income people, including me. Not just a token one or two, but eight
out of twenty-five! At least two of those years were years that could have
been spent living in cohousing, but were sacrificed to fight for a principle
they beleived in: housing for everyone.

Members of this community have opened their hearts and homes to people from
all over the planet, to further the cause of cohousing, but to also be good
nieghbors, not just to others like ourselves, but to everyone.

Members of this group held a community meeting after September 11 and
invited all groups in the neighborhood, including Jews, Christrians and
Muslims, all in our commonhouse, all in one room. The Imam of the mosque
that is one block away intvited us for a special service to commemorate the
lives lost on that day, and we pressured the local police to continue
24-hour security for the mosque for weeks after the bombing.

This is just a brief list of what members here have done to foster a better
community. Members of Southside Park Cohousing have, more than any other
cohousing community I know of, put their money and homes where their mouth
is. 

So before anyone out there thinks to criticize my community again, I suggest
you get your facts straight first. This is my family you're talking about.
Hopefully, one day you and Tim will feel the same about your communities,
and know why I feel so offended.

Respectfully,

-- 
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento California
tamgoddess [at] attbi.com












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