by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director

Stereotypes are misleading. Stereotypes are harmful. Stereotypes are incredibly counter-productive, and they can be anathema to the truth of a person, and/or a group of people. Even city zip codes can reinforce negative stereotyping of the people who live within these boundaries. High property taxpayers vs. renters.

Let us together demolish a pernicious stereotype.

As an example, I am referencing Blackburn Terrace Apartment Complex which is located within the 46218 zip code in Indianapolis, IN; a zip code which is considered to be a “hot spot.” Blackburn has its share of crime – which of course never fails to make it to the local evening news. After all, “if it bleeds, it leads.” However, the level of scrutiny many neighborhoods and their residents receive – and the level of outrage and condemnation which the community at large can heap upon them is too often out of proportion; and, too often ignored are the constructive and positive activities and initiatives that are a daily occurrence. There is more good than bad.

An example of a meritorious effort being carried out at the Blackburn Terrace Complex, among other proactive work being done by the staff, is the introduction of Peace Learning Center’s Connect and Communicate (CC) Program. These multi-generational workshops have proven to be efficacious in the past at working with families to make what is good and righteous in the family, even better.

We have begun a new cycle of CC family workshops at Blackburn, which will run from January 2019 until July 2019. The focus is on issues which all families face – regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic standing – conflict resolution/reconciliation/forgiveness, improved communication skills, familial self-reflection, surviving implicit bias and systemic racism, wholistic and healthy lifestyles, and peaceful parenting to name a few of the topics.

These sessions are interactive, with the participants providing the bulk of discussion. We break bread together and Peace Learning Center “swag” and other donated gifts are raffled off at each session.

The conflict we experience “on the street,” and what is often experienced in low-tax rate schools – is undoubtedly a reflection of what is occurring at home.

Families who participate in our CC initiative are dedicated and loving parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters. They all strive to create a more positive and peaceful environment within their homes and the Blackburn Village – and it is indeed a village. People living in close confines, sharing joys and working through the challenges of life together.

So, the next time you read a headline, or watch a television reporter lament the high crime rate in a particular zip code, remember, there is more to that community than meets the “digital and social media” eye.

I wonder what Bernie Maddof’s zip code was.