Neighborhoods and local accessibility are arguably the largest assets that St. Louis has to offer. Folks who live around you are also the same folks whom you see at school events, the grocery store and on the street. That tight-knit feeling is why so many people love St. Louis. Yet, our largest strength is, at times, also our largest weakness.
While we cherish our neighborhoods, we tend to forget that people in other neighborhoods are just like us. They too want the best schools for their children, accessible shopping and safe streets. Yet, because of an invisible border that says you live in Municipality A and I live in Municipality B, we begin to believe that significant differences exist between us.
Over generations, differences pile up and solidify: white and black, poor and rich, private and public, unsafe and safe. We start making assumptions about people who do not live around us. They, them, their versus us, we, ours. We lose sight that beneath all of these labels beats a human heart just like the one currently beating in our own chests. We neglect the fact that life is not about just getting by or living comfortably but about thriving. Yet, we cannot thrive unless our neighbor does, too. What diminishes one neighbor diminishes all of us; for, these invisible barriers do affect the beatings of a heart. Life expectancy can differ by 18 years just across Delmar Boulevard.
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