President’s Message: What is Community?

By Monica Allison, CPN President What is the definition of a community? It is a group of people who live in proximity to and interact with one another. Our community begins in our homes, extends to our block and surrounding neighborhood and then expands to our city, state, nation and the world. How do we represent our community personally? Some of us keep our blocks clean, plant trees, watch out for the safety of our neighbors, pick up trash, help the unemployed find jobs, and fight for quality education. All are noble causes, because, without each of us, we cannot be a community. I love our community! I love the diversity of people and the diversity of talents and input. I love the mix of businesses and I am enthralled with the sense that we all find our place to plant seeds.

As some of you may know, I received the Penn 2012 Martin Luther King Community Involvement Recognition Award in January. Those of you who know me personally know I am not the recognition type of gal. But with February being Black History Month, it started me thinking about the meaning of that recognition and the person for which it was named. Dr. King said so much in his brief time on earth that we can all take to heart. He was profound in so many ways, and as time has moved forward his words become more relevant. One of my favorite quotes of Dr. King is this: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Here we are, right back to community!

Dr. King is definitely one of my heroes, if there is such a thing. He instilled in those of us who lived during that time the knowledge of ourselves and who we are inside, because that is who will emerge publicly. In relation to our community, one of the other quotes I try to live by is this: “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” May we not protect the status quo or become indifferent, but embrace the challenge of change.

In our last newsletter, I was happily recalling the Centennial Celebration of Cedar

Park, how much fun was had by all, and the wonderful music played by our annual DJ, DJ Jamar. In January, we were all saddened by the death of DJ Jamar Ferrell. Jamar was a mentor, a husband, a neighbor and a friend. He is and will be missed. We also lost one of our Committee people and neighbors, Ms. Jeanette Norman. Ms. Jeanette served on the CPN Board, 2004-2005 and was always out working for the community. She too is and will be missed.

Cedar Park’s annual holiday basket distribution occurred on Saturday, December 17th at Renewal Presbyterian Church and provided food for more than 600 people. On Sunday, March 25th, the Scholarship Fundraiser is being held at Dock Street for the 5th year. Come out and support this worthy cause! Through your donations and gifts, we awarded over $6,000 in scholarships last year. Let’s try to raise more so that we can give more. The pizza and beer are awesome. Thank you, Rosemary, for inviting us back.

We have a new business in the neighborhood, Thrive Fitness and Wellness, which is located in Calvary Church, at 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Owner Michael Munson lives in the neighborhood and has extended to our members a free trail of his Fitness Camps. They meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m. Go check it out!

Finally, as a community, we want to extend our donations and time to help The Woodlands. On February 5th, 2012, the cemetery was vandalized and the ­damage is approximately $15,000. This is one of the most beautiful places to go walking in West Philadelphia. You see deer, geese, hawks and a host of other wildlife. More information can be found on page 12 of the newsletter.

Don’t forget, we have switched to an annual membership renewal date. If you haven’t renewed your membership, you can do so on our website. Your membership must be paid in order to vote in the April elections. We have had great dialogue on our facebook page. Come and join us. The conversations have been lively and informative.

This article is reprinted from our March 2012 newsletter.