We use the word “community” a lot here at Amirah. When our Program Director goes out and speaks to a potential program participant, when I share to groups of people about the work we are doing – that word comes up again and again.
While our good friend, Merriam-Webster, can give us all sorts of boring definitions that this is about a group of people living together, or people that share common interests, I tend to see community as something far different.
For us at Amirah, community is about building others up that have been put down. Community is about providing a space for hope to live, rather than fear to settle in. Community is about seeing the other people around you, hearing their voice and concern, and being a part of the positive change in their life, rather than contributing to the trauma they have endured.
The biggest piece is that community means that life is not always about me. This is the big deal that we are hoping to see each woman that comes into our home and program understand.
When you engage in deep trauma recovery, the work is focused on you, constantly. Your trauma, your needs, your pain, your history. While this work is necessary for recovery, it can distort progress if it is not balanced, and it can produce some serious entitlement issues.
This is the big deal about community. At Amirah, we are not just a program for these women as individuals, but we are a home that provides a space for community to come first and thrive. This means that we ask for some hard things; the biggest being to learn to trust others once again.
We face a lot of challenges as we work towards building a community, and these challenges will get discussed in next week’s piece in this series. But for now, I leave you with this:
Community is a big deal because we will never live a life of complete isolation in this world. Learning how to live together, work together, and live in respect with one another (even when we disagree) is vital for us to every part of life. This is why we will say again and again that Amirah's home is a community.
This is the first piece in a 3-part series on Community.