Community is a big word. In my experience people skip over the word “community” without really thinking about what it means. I know I did not have any firm understanding of the word until I came to Liberty Park. Community is an action word. Community is not static. Community is a mingling, a struggle, a living — together. Community is a common bond, a common effort, a common goal. Community is a sharing of pain, of joy, of striving. Community is mutual resolve, mutual determination, mutual action. Community is much more even than all that, and is definitely and definitively much more than just a collection of houses in the same area. In fact, community is not predicated upon houses or even living in the same area. I know that the accepted definition in the dictionaries base community upon people living in the same area — but we know better now, don’t we?
People selected for a group simply because they live in the same area do not necessarily possess that inate quality of togetherness that creates community. It is a symptom of our times, our culture, our society that living in the same neighborhood is not necessarily the same thing as living together. Intimacy is essential for togetherness. Togetherness is vital for community.
A community has a function. All the people in a community have a role, a responsibility and an obligation. A community is going somewhere, reaching out, growing. A community is a team. A community is united in common effort toward a common goal that is good for everyone within it. An individual in a community does not necessarily have to know everyone else — people just have to know they are united in a common endeavour that benefits them all.
Stacey is a member of the Sintral Florida Derby Demons. Her team is a better example of community than the simple dictionary definition. In fact, not only is the team a community, but the entire sport as well. The Occupy Bus Tour will visit other roller derby teams around Turtle Island and Stacey will practice with them. How can she do that? Because she is part of that community.
I went with her to practice on Monday and took a bunch of photos — over 500. (ain’t modern technology a wiz, folks?) I am processing those photos trying to get some good shots out of them. I have little experience and no training as a photographer, but I am enjoying the lesson. I always did like roller derby, now I have a team to root for! Here are a few of the photos: