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Dispatches: The Changing American Dream

This new feature will highlight Greenbelt's stories of hope and struggle in our changing times, passing along inspiration from folks in our community as well as friends in other Patch neighborhoods.

We're excited to inaugurate a new Patch series: "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."

Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses, and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times. There are so many changes happening so fast that it's dizzying — spurring national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, government and private enterprise.

We want to explore that conversation on a regular basis. Perhaps we can gain understanding from our neighbors as we see how they are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities being created.

We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams, which a multitude of people are working toward.

Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates living with their parents because they can't find jobs; and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay the bills.

But we also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated, and locals who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government and community.

At the purely local level, we want to know where we, as Greenbelt neighbors, fit along these fault lines, whether it be by simplyfying our lifestyles to reduce our energy needs and save money; growing our own vegetables — individually or as a community as has been inspired by the Greenbelt Community Gardens and Three Sisters Gardens; or scaling back on driving, by walking and taking advantage of the walkways and underpasses in Greenbelt from our inception.

"Dispatches" will be built upon the compelling vignettes and snapshots we unearth across all of our Patch sites.

And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Greenbelt go to the heart of your American Dream.

Lore Rosenthal August 16, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Bailey, I love this new feature. You go girl!
Cynthia Newcomer August 16, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Great idea, Bailey! Out of the crash of American style capitalism I think good things can come. We'll be forced to live together more interdependently since it will no longer be possible to survive in our individual family units. This is something poor people already know how to do, so I think (formerly) middle class folks will need to take some lessons. An engaged community like Greenbelt with its cooperative history is a good place to be in an economic meltdown. I'd love to see Greenbelt Homes or the larger city talk about how we can live more cooperatively. One idea -- create a fund to help keep our neighbors in their homes after job loss, illness, etc. Some of the early cooperatives in New York City had a policy that no one would be evicted. Also, how about developing some "cottage industries" in Greenbelt, where we can be our own bosses and share any profits. Doug Love's idea for an Old Greenbelt Mercantile and Dry Goods store at Roosevelt Center has promise.
Personwhocares August 16, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Communism at work
Personwhocares August 16, 2011 at 11:29 PM
communism at work. Capitalism is the reason that America has led the world. We are soon to be a 3rd world nation thanks to our leadership
Anna Socrates August 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM
I think this is an awesome column and can't wait to read it (and maybe contribute). I found Monday's Reel and Meal to be very thought-provoking. I hope this column can start a conversation about ways we can built our own American Dream in Greenbelt.
JH August 17, 2011 at 01:30 PM
NIce idea and good for public education on policy issues. We have lots of problems to address: sky high umemployment, growth in gang violence, a flood of impoverished people from other nations, and way too many dysfunctional families
Bailey Henneberg August 17, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Thanks, Lore and Anna, good to see you both at Reel and Meal. The group breakout came up with a lot of interesting ideas. Cynthia, I like how you phrased it -- living together more interdependently. I think we Greenbelters are way ahead of the game on that one. Yes, JH, we have lots of problems to address. Judging from what I saw at the New Deal, I think Greenbelt has the brain and heart power to tackle it. OK, I'm biased when it comes to GB, I confess.

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