The Advantages of a Better Community: Culturally Interesting

Advantages Explored!

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, On Self-Reliance

I’ve always found comfort in those words.  Hasn’t each of us realized that we probably have more in common with each other than we first thought? I’m not saying that our likes and tastes are all the same (that would be boring), but that our basic hopes and desires look – in the end – very similar.  

Over the next few months, I want to explore in more detail the Advantages of a Better Community, one at a time, in no specific order. These are, to me, the “common denominators” of good community. In some ways, they are reflective of the foundations that already exist here in Coraopolis; in other ways, they are aspirational. Some will resonate with you more than others, but I think you’ll agree they all are advantages we seek. They are the advantages I am working for each day.   I look forward to your own thoughtful comments!


The Advantages of a Better Community: #9 – Culturally Interesting

The main reason I’ve never wanted to live in the suburbs? Because I didn’t want to walk out of my door and see houses that look just like mine, and people that look and sound just like I do. 

Coraopolis is rich with ethnic diversity, interesting architecture, and fascinating people!  This is a tremendous advantage, because without variety of thought, experience, and passion, we will always rest “somewhere in the middle” and become very boring.   We all go on vacation because we want to see and hear something different, to get away from the mundane. And while it’s true that any environment can take on a repetitive quality, it is the diversity of people and ideas that give it heart and soul.  I like the way one site puts it: 

Diversity in society allows for richness and variety, boosting innovation which leads to economic growth, improving access to jobs, producing culturally vibrant and varied communities and preventing stagnation. Early exposure to ethnic and economy diversity prepares children and students for a multicultural world, with studies demonstrating that this type of socializing contributes significantly to their academic development and level of cultural awareness.

I grew up third-generation Irish. I had grandparents on both sides whose parents came to the U.S. from Ireland, and my neighborhoods were filled with families whose parents and grandparents also came from other places: Italy, Poland, Croatia, Germany. We understood the idea of the Great Melting Pot because were a part of it, and we saw it happen. And while we often made fun of each other for the funny-sounding names or accents, we learned we were better off with each other and the differences we had in customs, foods, music, and traditions.  In fact, our favorite event of the year was the International Village festive that took place for three weeks each summer. The food and the music were glorious! We see bits of our own cultural diversity expressed in the food made and served here: from pizza and wedding soup, to pierogi omelets, to Weissbier to tacos – which we are thrilled to welcome!

Water gets stagnant when it lacks movement or in-flow. The same could be said about companies, organizations, families, and town.

Does Coraopolis need fresh energy, or do we rely on the historic systems to move us forward?  

I’d say we need both.


Tomorrow, we vote. 

It is critical that we think seriously about what we want to happen here in the years ahead, and decide who will best represent the goals and advantages we want to achieve.  I can tell you that each of the candidates I’ve spoken to believe in the best our town has to offer, and want to use their particular strengths to make us even better. Please give them the courtesy of your consideration as they seek to serve all of us.

I hope to see you at the polls.