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Thursday, December 4, 2008

philosophers stone

I didn't realize how intense yesterday was until I got home, started reading, crashed and woke up this morning in a complete haze.

I went to a luncheon (although no one ate and I had left my lunch in the coat closet) yesterday being hosted by the Philadelphia Young Non-Profit Leaders. It was with the executive director of a local organization called Woman's Way. It was very informative and the discussion about nonprofits, the next gen of nonprofit leaders and issues around women in leadership roles was really stimulating. I'm glad I decided to go to it. I need to pick up some college guides before I went back to work for the office. And then I stopped to get a quick bite to eat because I was getting fainty.

The startling thing about the day was how much more carefree and comfortable the downtown area was. It was the first time I had thought, wow I could see myself living in Philadelphia. I felt guilty for that but it pushed it home to me how even the residents of North Philly, don't always want to be residents of North Philly. Their needs and concerns are basic and human. To feel safe and comfortable. To know that someone cares. The Center City are, where the meeting was and where I also work at Lush, is the business district, art district, overall cleaner tourist friendly minimal minority repersentation district. In the law firm the luncheon was in, there was a view over the city (we were on the 28th floor) and I was able to see the whole city and all of the gorgeous architecture of the Center City area. In my run that morning I had once again been met with the hollowed out buildings and heaps of trash that define most inner city communities.
There are people who live in Philadelphia who have never been to North Philadelphia and when I was telling someone that I worked on North Broad street they gave me the most shocking look of disbelief. Now I see why it's taking so long to have progress on domestic issues, why so many people in these communities feel frustrated and invisible. It's so easy to be disconnected and it's much easier and more comfortable.
I know I was happy to be away, to feel comfortable to just be. In the span of a ten minute subaway trip you can literally transcend two different worlds and the seperation is so profound and deep, that I wonder what it will take for it to be closed.

We have the tools, we only need the will...

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