Civil discourse builds community

February 18, 2011
By

The Hi-Lo/Whole Foods situation manifests, in a single 25,000-square-foot building, the enormous challenges of demographic change, economic development, real estate prices and cultural differences.

It is critical to maintain a civil dialogue if we are to successfully navigate these challenges. Venomous discourse will do lasting harm to our community health, regardless of what happens at 415 Centre St. Reductionist and insensitive approaches to this issue do little to foster understanding and progress. Such negative approaches include speeches demonizing more recent transplants to the community as the enemy as well as anonymous Internet comments dismissive of the very real issue of displacement and its social impacts.

There is no need to denigrate the food preferences of our neighbors, or dismiss their concerns if they differ from our own in order to have a productive discussion. It is only by listening and learning that we can use this challenge to build a more connected, more vibrant and more equitable community.

Tim Reardon
Egleston Square
Jamaica Plain