I got a quizzical look from a Director at a recent Board meeting when I observed that resident ownership bridges diverse communities in a special way. As evidence, I cited the interaction I witness between white, Black and Latino leaders at the ROC Leadership Institute. Diverse leaders from diverse communities from across the U.S. coming together around resident ownership – talking, sharing, and laughing. Even crying. And always lots of hugs.
Last night presented more evidence.
Texas, as we all know, has been hard hit this past week. The two resident-owned communities in Texas are largely Latino communities – some 165 families in all.
Both are in areas hit hard by the recent weather – Asociaciòn de Residentes de North Lamar (ARNL) in Austin and Pasadena Trails just south of Houston. Both communities had trees and branches fall due to icing and multiple freeze-ups and breaks to pipes, and both communities have had intermittent access to running water. The total damage is still being determined as the thawing begins in earnest today.
Ryan Nill at CHEA (Community Housing Expansion of Austin), our Technical Assistance affiliate in Texas, has been shuttling water to ARNL from other cooperatives in Austin and staying in touch with leaders in both ROCs.
From New Hampshire, we launched a GoFundMe campaign to bring some financial aid to the co-ops.
When I left work on Friday night, a good number of individual donations had already been made. It was a start and I am always grateful to donors.
And then, at 8:30pm, I got a text. Two New Hampshire ROCs had donated $1,500 to their sister communities in Texas!
There it is! Neighbors helping neighbors across this great and divided land because they share a common purpose, and have through that purpose a connection and a dedication to one another.
It’s so moving to see communities coming together in support of one another during a time of need. I applaud my New Hampshire neighbors for their generosity, their compassion, and their commitment to this idea of a network of Resident Owned Communities!
Your peers – your fellow ROC Members and leaders in Texas – will be extremely grateful, I know. And you can bet, I’ll be sure to let them know.
Be well our Texas neighbors, and thank you Heron Point Estates and Exeter-Hampton Member-owners, as well as all the donors, for your outstanding leadership and compassion.