By Gary Hibbs
It’s July, a month I love for so many reasons as we are in the throes of the carefree days of summer, with vacations and transitions for many. Our family just celebrated our last high school graduate, as our son, Nathanael, heads off to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, next month. An exhilarating time filled with thoughts of a new beginning!
July also reminds us of the beginning of a new nation. John Adams famously said of future generations celebrating our nation’s independence that, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” He was right on target, wasn’t he? Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president of Global Policy Solutions and co-editor of Strengthening Communities: Social Insurance in a Diverse America, has said that “Americans of all backgrounds have made this country what it is today,” and that it is time for a “Declaration of Inclusion.”
Here at Riderwood, we are really blessed to have an inclusive community with residents and staff of all backgrounds living and working together. Part of being an open environment means that, at times, we have differences, and individuals may not understand or embrace the cultural diversity that we at Riderwood value so highly. This is sometimes difficult and can lead to awkward situations where residents and staff have to figure out how to work through issues and find a positive path forward. How do we show support for each other while standing together with our staff and residents from different backgrounds? It’s not an easy question but a crucial one that we are constantly striving to answer.
Several committees will continue to work together to provide opportunities to address this important issue. Our Resident Advisory Council, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and CommUNITY Living Committee will come together with the management team to sponsor activities, articles, and events designed to create a forum for this vital conversation. Interviews with new Riderwood residents often reveal that they chose Riderwood to be their home because of the diverse and welcoming environment. This is an important quality that we must protect dearly. So, as you think about the July 4 holiday, consider ways you can support your neighbors and staff from different backgrounds and with different ideas, and prepare to join in the conversation as we continue to make Riderwood a wonderful and welcoming community. Happy Independence Day, or better said, Happy “Interdependence” Day! I look forward to seeing you around.