Over the past year I’ve been blessed with the task of writing for the people of the Lowell Neighborhood. I ventured into their slice of Fresno with nerves and knowledge of their dangerous past, but instead I found life. Now, we can all say we see life everyday. From walking through the bustling malls this Christmas season to seeing our breath each morning as we walk to our cars, but this is not the life that Lowell has. Theirs is life created by the joy of doing something right and good, the feeling of a place in their Valley, and the knowledge that hard work and dedication does make a difference.
For a year it has baffled me that I find the largest feeling of community and hope in a place deemed the “Devil’s Triangle”. A place that in title alone makes most people turn the other direction. Yet there have been many times I’ve arrived back at my eastside neighborhood and been saddened at the lack of community and neighborliness that my slice of Fresno has. It is in these times that these uniform tract homes in various shades of beige stucco make me long for the life and vibrancy of the Lowell community.
In this Christmas season I urge everyone to ask for the life that the Lowell Neighborhood has. Theirs is a neighborhood that is not perfect, but it is a neighborhood that has stopped turning the other cheek and has made a conscious decision to help one another. Their decision did not require a new shopping center or city bond measure. It was a decision to live.
Too often we find fault in others for why something is bad or wrong, but we need to change our thinking and find solutions, not blame. Too often we walk by a need and think that fixing it is someone else’s job, but we need to think of what we can do. This doesn’t have to cost money or take up a lot of time. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “hello” to a neighbor, but the end result is a neighborhood changing into a community.
Let’s be honest. Our institutions cannot fix the lives of over 500,000 people, but 500,000 people can. If every single person in Fresno made an effort to say hello, to pick up just one piece of trash, to hold the door for someone at a store, to do a small act of kindness for their community think of the noticeable change we would make without spending a dime. As a Fresno citizen, I am tired of making the lists of “Worst City”, “Drunkest City” and “Dirtiest City”. I’m tired of defending my city and being asked why I stay here. I stay because Fresno is a part of me and Fresno is my home.
I ask you all to stand up for your home. Look to the community of Lowell as an example that things can change and that we can do it ourselves. Life is not merely the act of breathing. Life is movement and faith. Faith in our community and faith in Fresno.
– Chrissy Costello