“Living in Germantown” looks at race

Last week about 60 residents gathered to explore ways to create harmony in politically fragmented Germantown.

They started with the easy stuff, like race relations.

“Germantown is long known and touted for its racial diversity, but it is no nirvana”, said Nzadi Keita, a resident of Germantown for 28 years, “It’s sort of just there… We talk about harmony and diversity, but never move towards our goal. We sort of just march in place”.

Many thought improving Germantown’s sense of neighborliness would be a key to ending that stagnation.

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“There are people who have been neighbors for years, but communicate very little with each other aside from greetings,” noted one attendee. “That has to be remedied.”

Others stated the disparity among home owners and renters as a reason for the disconnect.

Neighborly or not, something is working in Germantown.

The Dec. 2 gathering was the third in a well attended series hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Germantown. Organizers say the two previous “Living in Germantown” meetings, coordinated jointly by Germantown Community Connection and West Central Germantown Neighbors, sported even bigger numbers.

But while a successful meeting series is something to be proud of, Germantown resident Lurie Forney pointed out it doesn’t solve any problems by itself. For the group of residents to do that it needs an action plan – one that’s broken down into small doable steps along the path to the bigger concerns.

“For this to work our goal has to be specific and focused,” Forney said. “We need to concentrate on things that we can accomplish.”

Next week NewsWorks asks Germantown neighbors if they really do get along.

For more on the “Living in Germantown” forums, visit Germantown Community Connection or email Betty Turner at bettyturner1@gmail.com. Or visit West Central Germantown Neighbors or email Susan Guggenheim at susan@susanguggenheim-is.com.



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