You have your experience. You walk in. You survey. You hear some stories, but don’t listen to the on the ground stories. You assume you have the whole picture. You collect your posse. You survey, once more. Your posse validates your view, yet you still do not examine the on-the-ground picture. The on-the-ground recognizes they need help, yet they are sceptical of the help you offer. Your help isn’t really helping. Your help assumes you are the trusted expert who knows all. You assume your limited view has given you all you need in the world though you juxtapose it with the statement recognizing you don’t know everything. The on-the-ground is frustrated, concerned, and unsure if this change is really for the better.
Michelle Lasley is a graduate of Portland State University where she studied Social Science, Sustainable Urban Development, and Art History. Michelle currently divides her time working with SOLVE, the North Portland Food Buying Club, and volunteering for the Community Alliance of Tenants and her church. She loves spending time with her husband and son.