This community alert was in my mailbox tonight. It’s happening in too many neighborhoods, including ours. There was a large crowd of youngsters at Gale Park tonight enjoying the Ceasefire event. Different age groups were called up to the stage on wheels to dance and perform. But as with any gathering of humans, there were a few incidents waiting to happen. Tempers flared over the usual problems of being young or that insecure feeling of not fitting in. I see it on the morning train ride, on the rush hour sidewalks, in the hierarchy games of corporate America – we are all suffering from a lack of social graces. It’s usually a woman who offers the coveted seat on the train to a pregnant woman or a senior! We often don’t know how to converse, how to communicate, how to give directions – we just delegate or we wait for orders. When delegating doesn’t work, we pass the buck. If the ‘directions’ don’t arrive, we do nothing as though forbidden to practice free thought. The crime alert isn’t just about the Austin neighborhood, it’s about all of us. One way or another, we’re all part of a little gang, either by choice or by default as part of keeping our status quo at home, work and play. Just don’t rock the boat and don’t make waves.
Not the Little Rascals of the 1940’s
The Austin story is about the status quo and following orders. The elders are the only role models these kids have – not unlike our neighborhood. But for a few hours tonight, our neighborhood youth danced, worked off some excess energy, and was in a somewhat controlled social environment. Ironically, the stage was set up on the earth that will support the field house (which is now in the stage of obtaining a building permit).
Until that field house is completed to offer young people directions for their vast energies, they will follow the orders of the only status quo they know – their family – biological and/or extended.
And there’s always this alternative before the next step which is?