I’ve been thinking about downtown, progress and community.
Moving resources predominately accessed by lower- to no-income people seeks to push the issue of poverty and homelessness out of downtown’s line of vision and mind. The idea ignores the fact that panhandlers will go where people are, regardless of the bus station and Insight’s location. People experiencing poverty and homelessness are used to walking.
True progress seeks to address systemic causes of poverty, barriers that prevent people experiencing homelessness from utilizing our year-round shelters, barriers that make it more difficult for people to get and keep jobs. Instead of pushing our marginalized community members farther out, what if we wrapped them in community? What if there was public education on available resources, the barriers to them and a conversation that includes the entire community about what we can do better? If we felt compelled to feed someone — what if we took them to a restaurant and had a meal and conversation? Starting at ground level to remove the “otherness” that permeates around people experiencing poverty, getting to know all our community members and not just the ones who look and live like us, is the only way we can begin to make small changes that lead to systemic changes.
We’re only going to fix our community and our world by taking care of each other first and foremost, and that means finding space for each other in our communities, in all our similarities and in all our differences.
The closing of the Gateway YWCA’s gym, now to be converted into a megachurch auditorium, is a loss for hundreds of senior citizens, thousands of young athletes and a lot of pickleball players.
Over the last decade, the gym has welcomed activity up to 15 hours a day — walkers on the track, young basketballers (including wheelchair athletes) and volleyballers on the gym floor and pickleballers on many mornings. Now it appears that all of that will end Dec. 31, and the space with only be used for a couple of hours on Sunday mornings.
The YW says a smaller exercise room and track will be constructed on the site of the old swimming pool, but there are no plans for a gym — at least according to architectural renderings on exhibit at the facility. That leaves the basketballers and other gym floor athletes out in the cold.
It’s easy to criticize the YW for building in a floodplain and not having enough insurance once the inevitable flood occurred. It’s also too bad the institution didn’t solicit more users’ help in repairing the damage. But that sort of response is just grousing that ignores the obvious: What’s done is done.
What’s more important is helping out the users of the court sports. The YW gym has been a great facility for many citizens of Winston-Salem, and it’s sad to see it go away. But that should not be the end of the story.
I just finished reading the letter “Then came Trump” in the Aug. 12 Journal and I feel physically ill.
To write a letter like this, considering what our nation has been through for the last couple of weeks, not to mention the last couple of years, is just beyond anything that I can comprehend.
What has happened to the heart and soul of our nation? I must believe that people like the person who wrote this letter are in the minority.
There is something terribly wrong with a person who can still say to President Trump, “Keep making America great!”
Cynthia Gough Nance
Please submit letters online, with full name, address and telephone number, to Letters@wsjournal.com or mail letters to: The Readers’ Forum, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 250 words. For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/