by Executive Editor Eartha Watts Hicks
The New Year opens with many of us reaching out to those we care about most.
A well-time “Happy New Year!” is another way of saying “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” and “Thank you for being part of my life.”
2023 was hard-fought. Many of us had to get creative, finding ways to sustain ourselves. Many of our favorite establishments faced closure amid rising food costs and shrinking options. These are times when we cling to those we trust, support those we can, and stick to those who have shown up for us.
We have the power to keep our community thriving. Our consumer habits feed an eco-system when we pay attention to where those dollars go, if and when those organizations reinvest in our community, and how those organizations value us in return.
Harlem residents have earned a reputation for exemplifying a breakout work ethic, hard hustle, and getting the job done by any means necessary. We have little choice. It’s as if we must compete to show our value and prove our worth, even when the competitor we are up against is the person we were just a year ago.
Understanding this, we should remember our purchasing power speaks louder than insults on social media. We keep local businesses alive with our patronage. And if we dare spend and invest outside our community, those businesses need to work for it.
We are more than a community.
We are more than a community. We are an audience, a market, a consumer base, a workforce, a consensus, and all combined when we remember to engage with our community.
Once upon a time, neighbors were like family, and information was a resource. Once again, it’s time to know who our neighbors are, to ask about those we haven’t seen in a while, to knock on doors when we see menus and notices collecting undisturbed at apartment units, to call, text, and reach out on social media if we get no response.
“No one is knocking on doors to borrow a cup of sugar anymore…”
No one is knocking on doors to borrow a cup of sugar anymore, but being neighborly is still an option in 2024.
Think about it. And if the mood strikes, start next door and knock.
Happy New Year.
Eartha Watts Hicks
Eartha Watts Hicks is Harlem World Magazine’s Executive Editor. She is the award-winning author of Love Changes, a member of the Harlem Writers Guild, and a NYCHA/NAACP ambassador for literacy. For more information, visit www.linktr.ee/Earthatone.
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