The Importance of Inter-Generational Dialogue

The Importance of Inter-Generational Dialogue

At FHC we use a tool we developed called Real Talk to discuss what is going well and what needs improvement.  From 2004-2013 the discussions were based on developing the youth to be community leaders. Discussions were focused on individual as well as team based conversations. 

During this process, we discovered that the youth felt the adults in the community did not view them as part of the solution. As a result, they came up with a plan to show how they can be, should be and will be part of the solution strategy for community issues.  In 2014, when they start attending town hall meetings, it was a rough beginning due to high emotions on both side.  The adults felt that the youth were very disrespectful, destroyed community, and got involved in crime.  The youth felt they are not all of those things and were tired of being lumped together with a few bad apples with no opportunity of being invited to be part of the solution plan. 

FHC Students attending the Martindale Brightwood town hall meeting

As we kept the dialogue going, within a year, both groups came together to create Unity Park, a public space on Roosevelt and Caroline.  This three years process brought a heartfelt appreciation of the pains the adults felt when describing how thriving and beautiful their neighborhood was.  The youth had no idea was the community had such a beautiful past. Through the conversations the youth learned to appreciate the history of the community.

When the youth took part in the 1st  PreEnactIndy with the displaying of the vegetables they grew and public space plan, many people were proud to see such positive involvement of youth in community building.  One Lady stood by the booth and started crying!  The youth starting asking her if she was Ok and she said “I did not know our youth in the community were doing good job like this.” A healing dialogue is a process and takes time. 

Unity Park was dedicated on June 17th, 2017 with a 100% youth running the event.  It was attended by youth, neighborhood residents and elected officials with Mayor Hogsett as a keynote speaker.

As these dialogues were important for inter-generation in Martindale Brightwood, the inter-community dialogue is also very essential to bring healing and understanding about the Black Lives Matter movement going on right now.  FHC youth leaders led by Naomi Davis have been discussing George Floyd death, watched Selma to study how the elders and ancestors dealt with the struggle. The students watched The 13th as a JuneTeenth event making action plans on how they want to take part and went through workshop on “Black Wall Street” learning about a thriving African American owned business district in Greenwood Oklahoma.  As the leaders emerge through what we call, leadership from inside out, they will be ready to dialogue with privileged neighborhoods on how to work on the common goal of living together to take care of ourselves, each other, and our earthly home we live in.

-Aster Bekele

Executive Director/Founder The Felege Hiywot Center

You can watch the Unity Park Documentary below.