In the face of our changing neighbourhood, how can we work together to cultivate a welcoming and compassionate community?
This Thursday, Castle Heights residents are invited to a meeting at the St. Laurent Complex to meet with the Overbrook Community Association. The evening, hosted by the Community Association along with Ward 13 Councillor Tobi Nussbaum, and facilitated by Community Mediation Ottawa, will aim to make Castle Heights residents feel more connected to their neighbours.
The Association is pleased to be proactive in promoting social inclusion through this neighbourhood dialogue. We define social inclusion as a process that ensures that: all people feel valued, with their differences respected, and their basic needs met, so they can live in dignity. At the meeting, we intend to create a space for sharing common values and determining common goals with neighbours, along with deepening the Association’s relationship with the neighbourhood.
Overbrook Community Association President Rawlson King told Ottawa Community News that the evening aims to strengthen ties between the neighbouring communities. The Overbrook Community Association indicated its intention at its Annual General Meeting last November to formally extend its representation to Castle Heights at the request of its residents. The move will extend a strong voice to that neighbourhood, defined by its mature trees, beautiful parks, schools, and shopping. Castle Heights abuts the boundaries of Vanier, extends north to Montreal Road, then east to St. Laurent Boulevard, and south to MacArthur Avenue. The area is similar in nature to Overbrook, with a mix of housing and apartments.
King told the newspaper: “I think that it will allow people to meet each other. There is a potential for disconnect if you don’t know your neighbours. We are thinking a dialogue will get more people together and get them to know their neighbours which would help build a welcoming, more inclusive neighbourhood.”
“The idea now is to extend the community association’s resources and structure so that Castle Heights residents can utilize them and so they can advance their concerns,” King further explained. “We want to create stronger ties. We will tell them about the Community Association, but that is only a short component of the evening. The meeting will be mostly about social inclusion and how we can strengthen the community.”
After a short introduction from the Association and Councillor Nussbaum, Community Mediation Ottawa will facilitate the meeting, offering community members the opportunity to discuss the value of inclusion, ways the community can be more welcoming and what people want the community to stand for. Ideally, the evening will focus on enhancing respect for diversity. Hopefully, the dialogue will act as a clarion call for our community to actively promote awareness and the reduction of systemic harms including: racism, homophobia, sexism, gender discrimination, classism, xenophobia and religious discrimination.