Isolation in #SOHAY

Isolation is defined as the complete separation from others or removing one’s self from a situation or the company of others. This has become a major problem in South Hayward or more importantly the Tennyson area to be precise.  

Several students that are apart of the Student Initiative Center (SIC) here at Chabot interviewed one hundred residences in South Hayward regarding the Tennyson Corridor project the SIC is involved in. Several people said they don’t know their neighbors. When asked why they don’t know their neighbors they simply just responded I don’t want to talk to them.

This is common in communities where you see a neighbor you give them a wave or a friendly head nod and keep going about your business. The citizens stay in their own homes they don’t go out they don’t talk to one and other. This decreases the level of a community the citizen’s experience.

Eric Heltzel an English professor here at Chabot College says that there is an art gallery happening May 22, the goal is to get people out of their homes and see the artwork of their community. Heltzel believes that the people of South Hayward could strike up conversations, about common concerns such as housing and rent that doesn’t get talked about with each other.

Heltzel believes there is a bigger form of community communication through social media. Referring to common meme’s that relate to Hayward and the Tennyson area. It’s also ironic that citizens of Hayward will discuss rent, housing, violence, and all these other community problems online on a Facebook page, but won’t discuss them together face to face.

The first steps in helping eviscerate this social void in the community are creating events, that help people get outdoors and start talking to each other.  Maria Correia has been a South Hayward resident for 23 years and is very involved in her community. Correia describes her community experience like this. “I love my neighbors we have community block parties and cookouts it’s a lot of fun.” She says although there are a few neighbors who aren’t so friendly. Theresa Correia Maria’s 17-year-old daughter believes that “If you’re new to your area you should introduce yourself.” Theresa says “another way to get people out of there shell is if they attend a party, or event with at least one person they know, they won’t feel as scared to go meet new people.”

Professor Heltzel says that SIC has applied for a 2-3 million dollar grant from the Bloomberg Foundation. The grant is for communities to install temporary art installations, with the purpose of creating community. Hetzel says the proposal they submitted is called “Citizens Outdoors” where they would host block parties in various neighborhoods. The center would bring classroom doors and have people decorate them together with actual local artists.

The painting of the doors is the first step into having an art course for citizens in the area, and they will also have a local musician come by and create a community song.  It’s uncertain when this project will come to fruition. There are so many activities are in the works to bring people together in the South Hayward community.

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