“My illness is messing with my brain, making things fuzzy. But this kind of stuff, I can’t forget it.”
The cohousing world lost a pioneer and community mentor in the Summer of 2016, Joani Blank of Swan’s Market Cohousing in Oakland, CA. A fierce advocate for the power of community, all who knew her have stories to tell.
I had the privilege of interviewing Joani by phone a few months before her passing. She kept me on my toes, and soon I’d strayed far from the list of questions I’d written.
The benefits of intentional community can sometimes come as a surprise – especially when the community is still in formation, not yet even living together. When members of PDX Commons learned about the Women’s March on Washington and all of the sister marches around the globe, including one right here in Portland, there was a strong spontaneous desire of wanting to gather together, joining forces to march with our community identity: At PDX Commons, we stand for kindness, compassion, fairness, justice, equality, human rights for all.
The author of a recent article in Christianity Today examines how cohousing's "radical hospitality" can be an inspiration and opportunity for churches to follow. Both Alice Alexander of Coho/US and Courtney Martin, Temescal Commons Resident and author of The New Better Off (which I just started reading, and wow - already highly recommend!) are interviewed.
"We evolved to live in community, and that seems to be the scale where we can best navigate the complexities of life-experiences of people not like us, the fragility and resilience of the web of life that surrounds us. When we live connected to a community, we are more likely to become champions for one another, not just for ourselves. It's a small step from there to becoming advocates for the larger community, even for the community of all life. From there, the idea of the common good is not so hard to grasp."
Last month on Cohousing-L, a timely topic was sparked by the sharing of Courtney Martin's excellent New York Times article mentioning cohousing, Modern Housing with Village Virtues. How do cohousers get journalists to care about the topic? To really put in the research and get the facts right? To ensure the human element is carried through in quotable, relatable stories?