By Ajay Lawson

Hello, my name is Ajay Lawson and my community just like anything is full of wonderful things as well as flaws which I have grown to embrace. Over the years, I have seen many faces scrunch up when they realize I live in South Sacramento, and I never understood why.  I feel all people see is the violence, drugs, and poverty of the area, not the flourishing farmers’ market or the great pride the residents feel for their community. I find it difficult to focus on the negativity when I am surrounded by positivity.

This community has provided to me the fact it is very much so possible to have a neighborhood where you have block parties with your neighbors who wouldn’t hesitate to lend you a cup of flour. I have neighbors that greet me with a hug and a “how ya doing?” Elders live in my neighborhood that when I sit and listen, they will tell me the stories of their life. People live in my community that will lend a shoulder and an ear when I need it.

My neighbors have pride in their community; they work extremely hard to keep their community safe and healthy. They have no problem standing up together and saying “We would not like this in our community!” They know what they want in my community and make sure they get it.

My community laughs together, cries together, eats together, plays together, and works together.

My community has given me a good sense of what a community is-just a bigger family.