Sunday, October 06, 2013

Runs in the family

Atul Gawande is not the only superb writer in his family.  His daughter Hattie recently took to the public forum of our community newspaper to support the establishment of a nine-unit home for formerly homeless adults in an old fire station in her section of town.  Her article was beautifully constructed and written.  Like her father, Hattie sets forth a principled position.  This one is on an issue in which our City's mayor has ducked and weaved and made himself invisible, when there was an outcry of opposition from a small number of neighbors.

I can't find a link yet to her guest column in the Newton Tab, but here are highlights from this high school senior:

Waban is considered a "family" neighborhood.  It makes sense, then, that advocates for and against the Engine 6 proposal have been talking about what kind of neighborhood they want to raise their children in.  Parents have pitted heavy words like "diversity" and "compassion" against words like "crime" and "safety."

I thought it would provide a new perspective, however, to speak as a child who also has a vision for the neighborhood.  I have lived all of my 17 years in Newton, half of them in Waban.  The rest of my life will be shaped by the foundation that was built here.  For the sake of all the children whose lives rest on a Newton Foundation, I am asking you to take action in support of Engine 6.

... I want to tell you that the vision of Newton that is more diverse, welcoming, and integrated is the one I want to work toward, as a child growing up here.

... Newton needs to live up to its promises.  We need to recommit to the goal, stated in more than one city plan, in improving the economic diversity of our neighborhoods by opening up more affordable housing.

... Bear this in mind: Keeping Waban the way it is now is harmful to me and all the other children of Newton.  Being sheltered for 17 years, blind to the difficulties of people less fortunate than we are, risks breeding indifference to human beings who need our help.  Frankly, that makes for a poor childhood.  But--if we act now, together, we can begin to change Newton for the better, and not only improve the lives of nine chronically homeless individuals, but my life, and the lives of all other Newton children.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is significant evidence to support her position. "And a child shall lead us":