On Monday morning an explosion
occurred at the Klose Inn at 93rd and Aurora. One man was critically injured in the blast. Almost immediately reporters on the scene and news outlets were speculating that there must have been some sort of illegal activity going on behind that motel room door. It turned out to be a natural-gas explosion, but that discovery came a bit too late - a misconception about our Aurora neighbors and their situation had already been revealed.
On Tuesday morning at the Aurora Commons, almost immediately after opening our doors, our staff found themselves on the receiving end of intense hostility from the owner of a nearby business. While this was not the first time for this, it was the most vitriolic of our interactions. We were not surprised by his accusations, but we were deeply saddened by the ways he spoke about our neighbors, calling them, “junkies” and “rats.” Once again, a misconception about our fellow human beings along Aurora Avenue was on full display.
There are times like these two days this week that we are witness to these misconceptions. Sometimes, admittedly, we carry misconceptions about our neighbors too. Our neighbors, meanwhile, are on the receiving end of these misconceptions every day. As if it weren’t enough for them to struggle against the realities of addiction, sexual exploitation, mental illness, and poverty, they also have to struggle against these misconceptions about their lives, their situations, and their humanity on a daily basis.
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday, April 15) as an expression of solidarity with our neighbors, as a protest against the dehumanization of our neighbors, and as a confession of our own misconceptions, we invite you to join us for a brief Neighborhood Cleanup & March. We will gather at the Aurora Commons at 10am, distribute materials, and then head out to clean along Aurora Avenue between 85th and 95th streets.
Please join our beautiful neighbors from the Commons in bringing beauty to Aurora Avenue.
All of us at the Commons