Community is the how and why this all began. As a kid I grew up with several communities that supported my family. We had our church family, our extended family, our hood and our school friends. In these spaces my parents and us kids had families whose houses we could go play at on the weekends and after school. We had trips and events with both school and church groups. We had family we leaned on and were leaned on for childcare, social gathering and so much more.
But what happens when we don’t have a church? Or when the family moves away or fights? When our neighbors and our selves can’t stay in the same neighborhoods due to housing insecurity and high rents?
The “traditional” systems that our families rely on fall apart and fall away. . . in a time where we need them more than ever.
WE NEED COMMUNITY! We need to work together. We need to have our needs met to survive. It’s not about just surviving physical (food, child care so we can work) . . . . it’s also about being healthy mentally and emotionally. Our kids deserve that. Our future needs that.
In my heart and mind that meant that I wanted to be present to raise my kids with my values and an intact relationship. I did not want to them to be raised by other people who don’t know us, don’t know our history, our values, our traditions and what we vision for a future. I wanted them to be able to spend as much time with their Great Grandma while they could.
I wanted to be with my Grandmother as much as I could. That meant I would do what I could to work from home to be there for all of us.
I didn’t want to be working all the time to send my kids away all day to a school where I would be driving home and many times see the kids walking home from school and wandering around the streets, sometimes beating each other up. I didn’t want to be at work all day only to come home to eat one meal and then go to sleep. I wanted my house to be alive! I want to enjoy and use my living space.
That’s how Unidos started, with the children I took care of as my kids grew and then we all grew into a family. Those who wanted or needed to work could and I (who wanted to be home) worked at home as the caretaker and first teacher.
Since then we’ve learned, almost fallen apart and grown. We are now in our 5th year and we have more families than any previous year. I think we are all looking for a place/space to belong, to build, to grow, and to heal.
Whatever your path and journey with schooling, with your semillas and in your communities I wish you well. I hope we all win. I hope we all heal. I hope we can all work towards making this world into a better place for all of us.