Relying on city solutions not enough

“United we stand”, as we hear and tell each other may be fine. But then it is only in our divisibility that we stand united. Now more than ever these phrases are used and one has to wonder what they now mean. It is evident, or should be to anybody who has ever ventured outdoors, that this is not one country or indivisible. True the lines of separation may not exclude us from calling ourselves Americans, in the most fundamental meaning of the word, that is to say those of us that were born in this country or were naturalized, but these lines run vertically through race, gender and class. I say vertically because through these distinctions, “We the people”, creates a hierarchy and cover it with these phrases and justify it through cultural hegemony, that is the things we tell ourselves when somebody asks why you and not somebody else.

It was with these thoughts that I came upon the editorial, “PSU unsuited for Dignity Village despite caring gesture”. Portland State University prides itself on being an active leader in the community. To shrug our shoulders and claim tasks such as this is too much of a burden is to show our “leadership” only goes skin deep. It is not necessarily evident that, “if the administration allows the village to come, it will be assisting the county and city in avoiding their basic responsibilities to the homeless.” We would be sending a clear message, as an important member of the community, that ignoring and or sweeping the village to different sections of town is not decent or acceptable.

Applying pressure to the city and county in urging them to develop viable options for the homeless is also a necessary action that must be taken by our university. Relying only on this option, however, reduces us to just a political force in the community. Why is this not seen as an opportunity? I can think of no better real world application for areas of study in social work, urban studies, business, cultural studies along with many others.

I fear that the main objection lies in campus beautification, security, money and legal issues, I of course cannot be sure, since little or no information has been given. But regardless, is it not the challenges in life that move us to act? We as an agent of the community, as part of the community, as a leader of the community, have been presented with a real-world situation to not only actively seek social change through political and social work, but also to learn.

-Zachary Sanders