Re: New diversity statement
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 10:37:11 -0700 (PDT)
> On Sep 24, 2016, at 5:16 PM, Katie Henry <katie-henry [at]> wrote:
> At my former community, in the DC area, we had a decent number of African 
> American members. They had zero interest in participating in diversity 
> discussions or serving as poster children for the community. We had 
> well-intentioned white members who would bring it up periodically, and it 
> would really piss them off. They just wanted to live their lives.

I feel the same way about living in cohousing. I want to live here not become 
an example of a cohouser. In the beginning everyone’s relatives and friends 
wanted to visit to see what this odd group of people was. It was trying to 
answer questions all the time or be stared at during meals and celebrations. 

Later it only happened when a new household moved in. One couple invited 8 
people to a holiday cook out. They sat at a table in the middle of the piazza 
and watched people all afternoon. It reminded me of the group that took a bus 
from the Village in NYC to the suburbs in Westchester County, a suburb of NYC. 
The tour bus stopped here and there so riders could taking pictures. 

When I started teaching I put pictures of my children on my desk. I soon took 
them off because my son has distinctive African American features and it 
prompted too many off-topic discussions. Students needed to focus on themselves.

Some of our visitors took pictures until we asked them not to because people 
had not given permission for pictures.

Another time the visit was handled differently. A new resident had a number of 
friends who were connected to embassies or were in the foreign service of some 
kind and invited them to a catered dinner. She explained this to our members 
list and asked residents to spread themselves around the tables to answer 
questions. That was very nice. 

About 5 years after move-in, I removed Takoma Village Cohousing from my address 
signature. I felt too obvious. Lately since more people have heard of 
cohousing, I’ve put it back in.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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