Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do You Know Your Southeast Queens Neighbors?

Kamau's Kultural Corner

Southeast Queens has had some great and super successful residents. Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, WEB Dubois, Babe Ruth, and the list goings on and on.

You could be living next door to a future or living legend in our community and not even know it. So it is important to cut off the cable TV or Internet sometime and get out and meet or greet neighbors.  You may be surprised at the caliber of person you meet in Southeast Queens.

If I had the authority to add commandments to the 10 Commandments the 12th one would be "Know Thy Neighbor." My 11th Commandment "Love Thy Sista" is a topic for another day. I think we should learn from history and add to our religious and spiritual narratives.

When I was growing up in my community most of the people on the block knew each other. The block's children usually played together and even protected each other. I would often hear people in my youth say something like "don't mess with that guy he's from that tough block. They stick together."

Today people really have very little interaction beyond their personal household on the block. The kids have selected play dates these days and you need an appointment and to be screened by neighbors for kids to play with each other these days. Play dates?

What the hell was a play date back in the day? You just went outside and played. We're so reluctant to interact with other people in the hood we don't know in NYC at least. I hope this isn't the case everywhere.

With the rise of the Internet, social media, and mobile apps I fear we are spending far too much time with virtual friends than people in our community and neighborhoods. My new digital publication the Southeast Queens Scoop is forcing me to get out and meet people in the area.

Last week I decided to bypass Amazon, and went to buy a cell phone from a local merchant. Unbelievably, I found out this cell phone dealer had a doctorate in psychology with a passion to help abused children and women. Also he had high tech equipment in his store that helped children with ADD, ADHD, and autism without drugs.

In other words he was an excellent person to know to help me with my daughter's issues. Also I got him to consider hosting group meetings for parents with autistic children in our neighborhood since all these meetings tend to happen on the "other side of town" - if you know what I mean. But I would have never meet him without venturing out to meet people in the area.

At other meetings I was asked to volunteer with economic development and become a director of a nonprofit. All within a weeks time. At a celebration of jazz legends in my community I met a NY State Senator who's been reading my community news and events site. Plus as my daughter and I were listening to jazz a nice gentleman asked us if we wanted to share some of his fried chicken.

I haven't had fried chicken in months and didn't want to offend the gentleman so I ate some of his fried chicken and thanked him. We began to talk about all the great jazz talent who came or lived at one time in our community like Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Fat's Waller, Mercedes Ellington, Lena Horne, and many more the lists keeps on going.

It was obvious this gentleman was someone who really knew jazz history in the area and someone I should know. I asked the gentlemen "for his card if he had one." Guess what? He turned out to be a Judge.

In other words - you could be missing out on important connections.

Word to the wise. Step out of your enclaves, off the Internet, and your comfort zones more often and - Know thy Neighbor! Dig for treasure in your own community - you may strike gold.

About the Southeast Queens Scoop - is the premier website and only publication offering daily news and updates on the events, culture, issues, and business in this largely black historic community.

The publication targets the over 350,000 residents in the Southeast Queen and Jamaica Queens area. It promotes to over 40,000 potential viewers in social media, mobile devices and search engines like Google and Bing!  To learn more about how to promote your business or organization on the Scoop or online Click Here