Out to the areas in which these communities of color now call home, is where I see the sparse glimmers of community pride in the small businesses, occupied by people of the Mekong and Balsas Rivers, but also their children, finding pride in speaking their household languages among friends at school. A young Hispanic boy got on the bus, in hand with his mother and her friend, who both seemed to be on her way to her job. The two speaking Spanish, so fluently, I felt myself ashamed not to have been able to engage too. Following, came a bounty of young people in the late morning rush hour, heading to work, the entry jobs that could possibly get them the house their mother had lost.
On my trip to North Portland, I heard the stories of men that been sucked in by streets, going in and out of jail, one even recently stabbed at the porch of his home. But even the wake of this commonly thread theme of North Portland, being the “hood,” they had a firm pride for their own community. This pride broadened my eyes, as I rode through New Columbia, looking at the various flyers advertising community events from old Father’s Day Honors Brunch, to clothe drives and employment preparation classes. As I continued further into North Portland, the pride of being a homeowner illuminated as the bus passed the streets with immaculate yards, set in front of houses painted as if to smile, assuring you are safe.
From the conversations that started with a simple question, “what are you doing?” to the smiles that made me feel welcome, but not enough to stay, as I travelled through the changed, bright, vibrant, new, fun, urban, white neighborhoods: Division, Mississippi and Alberta, I realized so much has changed, but the people coming in and the people who left remain the same. There faces do change colors, but life continues to go on.