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Jackson community writing_rose_park

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Community Writing Project …

Community Writing Project
Rose Park

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  • 1. Jim JacksonProfessor Lisa BickmoreEnglish 201025 April 2011 Reflective Letter of Transmittal- The Community Writing Process & Rose Park I love writing. I have enjoyed writing ever since I began school as a kid. Now as an adult I keep ablog as part of my work responsibilities. I am happy to say that I have had a small epiphany as a studentthis past semester in the 2010 English course at Salt Lake Community College. Specifically, my epiphanyoccurred towards the end of the course as I began my community writing project. While it is notnecessarily a new idea to use writing as a vehicle for community betterment I personally have neverused my writing as a social utility. As part of my community writing project I decided to write on thecommunity that I live in. I live in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. I have lived in thisarea for more than 25 years. I grew up in the area and attended school from grade school on upthrough high school. Over the years I have seen my neighborhood take a beating on the point of beingan undesirable neighborhood to live in. I am sure that much of this public perception has beenpromoted through prejudices and negative group think held against the neighborhood over severaldecades as the area has continually been home to a diverse spectrum of residents since it was initiallybuilt. Changing the negative sigma of Rose Park sort of became my underlying theme as I embarked onmy writing project. As I began my project I started by surveying my neighborhood to see if I could visually identifyany reason that Rose Park might have such a bad reputation. These observations were unsuccessful so Icontinued my observations by talking with my neighbors and other members of my community to gainadditional perspective. It didn’t take too long before I started to learn that there was a need in thecommunity for greater community involvement. I had the opportunity gain a substantial amount ofinsight on Rose Park Community issues in talking with the head of the Rose Park Revival Kevin Rogers.Rogers recently started Rose Park Revival as a community activism organization whose goal is topromote positive change and positive image for the Rose Park area. In taking with Rogers he pointedout that the biggest issue within Rose Park is the current lack of participation with in the areascommunity council. Rogers mentioned that while Rose Park is an area that thrives in diversity there isan accompanied attitude of apathy toward community involvement. Rogers pointed to the fact that thecommunity council attendees are mostly retired residents. Rogers’s opinion was that the youngergenerations along with being busy with young families and new careers carry an attitude of not having
  • 2. time to become involved with the community. The point was that the community will progress orregress and it is up to the collective of the community to promote and change the image of Rose Park. Encouraging the younger community members became my focus as I continued to processthrough my writing project. I ended up writing two pieces in hopes of catalyzing positive change withinmy community. The first piece of writing that I put together was a brief of events going on in the RosePark area. I structured this piece as something that I could hand deliver to residents in myneighborhood. I actually will distribute this piece as part of my project. I also wrote a second articlestructured as a blog article that I submitted to Rose Park Revival. This article was essentially a call toaction for the younger generations to become involved with the Rose Park Community Council. In thearticle I issued a challenge to the readers to attend three consecutive council meetings with the hope ofencouraging greater involvement from the younger Rose Park generations. This writing project was a very beneficial and rewarding experience. I have been feeling that Ineeded to get more involved with my community for the past few years. This project pushed me overthe edge from thinking to doing. The action of getting involved with a cause has been a very rewardingexperience. Not only have I been able to expand my writing skills but I have also been able to get moreinvolved with an area that I care about. I hope this experience can create a perpetual effect thatinspires more members of my community to get involved with Rose Park. I am grateful for thiscommunity writing project as it helped me to realize the potential that my writing can have on themembers of my community. I have compiled my community writing project in to one portfolio. After this essay the firstpieces of writing in the portfolio is the project proposal that I submitted to my Professor, Lisa Bickmore.Upon approval I started with the second piece of writing which is an observation of the Rose ParkCommunity Setting. The third piece of writing in the portfolio is the blog article that I submitted to theRose Park Revival. My fourth and final piece is the action brief which will be distributed to members ofmy community.
  • 3. To: Lisa Bickmore From: Jim Jackson Date: April 15, 2011 Subject: Rose Park Revival / Rose Park Community Council As a resident and long time member of the Rose Park community, I have observed aneeded change for the public perception and opinion of the Rose Park area. Rose Park is aneighborhood which is located northwest of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Rose Park isoften portrayed negatively by the media as an undesirable high crime area. As a member ofthe community I can verify many instances where the media has reported on crimes as takingplace in Rose Park when the crimes actually took place outside of Rose Park. As a personwho cares about my community I feel that there is a strong need to change the outsideperception of my community. It is interesting to me to see this continual bad press on aneighborhood that truly has much to offer. Rose Park has a strong sense of community thatfunctions and thrives in an incredibly diverse environment. The media would be surprised tolearn of the number of doctors, lawyers, and other working professional that call Rose Parkhome. The reality of Rose Park and the media portrayal of the area are two totally differentthings. The issue that I have chosen to write about is the specific need for the youngergeneration residents to participate in the Rose Park Community Councils. I found that thiswas a need in talking with Kevin Rogers who heads up the Rose Park Revival blog. RosePark Revival is an advocacy group consisting of Rose Park community members that areworking to better the neighborhood. Rogers informed me that the Rose Park CommunityCouncil currently has great attendance. While attendance is good Rogers pointed out that
  • 4. much of the attendance is imbalanced when it comes to age demographic. Most of thepeople that attend the council are retired and there is almost no representation from the 20 to50 year old age group. Rogers feels strongly that this issue is indicative of an attitude ofapathy that is held by many of the members of the community. Rogers explained that if theimage of and betterment of Rose Park is to continue forward the younger generation willneed to step up and continue the work that has been implemented by the community’s oldergeneration. I would like to write a call to action for the younger generations of the Rose Parkcommunity to become involved in the community council meetings. Rogers is even willingto post my call to action on the Rose Park Revival blog. I believe that this is an excellentstarting point for community action as participation within the community will surelycatalyze positive change. To ensure the effectiveness of this writing project it will be necessary for write aconvincing call to action that will motivate community members to start attending thecommunity council meetings. I may even take the writing piece one step further andcirculate the call to action as hand delivered flyers throughout my neighborhood. I amexcited to write on this topic as increased community involvement will certainly help tobetter the image of a community that I love.
  • 5. Jim JacksonProfessor Lisa BickmoreEnglish 201025 April 2011 Analysis of Community Setting- The Rose Park Community I have used the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake as the focal point for my communitywriting project. I actually live in the area so this writing project has significant personal meaning. RosePark is a relatively small area of Salt Lake City. The area is just North West of downtown Salt Lake City.The Boundaries of Rose Park extend west of Interstate 15 to Redwood Road and run north from 600North to the Davis County line. The neighborhood consists of 1950’s style brick homes that average1600 square feet in floor space. One of the key features of Rose Park is the mature tree lined streetsthat run throughout the neighborhood (see fig. 1). (fig. 1 Tree Lined Streets of Rose Park)According to Wikipedia, “Trees (including many varieties of fruit trees) were planted in theneighborhood by young WWII era families. Rose Park now boasts some of the citys largest and mostdensely spaced trees.” (“Rose Park,” par 3.) Rose Park is also one of the most diverse areas within theCity of Salt Lake. I can tell you from my personal experience of living Rose Park that the area is home toa diverse population of people ranging from first generation European immigrants to a current influx ofLatin, African, and Polynesian immigrants (see fig. 2)
  • 6. (fig 2. Diversity at West High School- Many student reside in Rose Park) Two key activities currently take place in the area for the sake of community enrichment. Thefirst event is the Rose Park Community Council which meets on a monthly basis. This council iscomposed of a body of elected volunteers that work for the benefit of the community. The councilmakes recommendations and gives feedback to the governing body of Salt Lake City. While the councilis active most of the attendees are retired. A number of community voices have expressed a desire toencourage younger members of the community to participate in the council. One of the requests forincreased participation came from the community activist group Rose Park Revival (see fig. 3) recentlyposted on its blog, “Most of the people who are not attending (council meetings) are the young folks,the first time home buyers, but there are others too.” (“Don’t make them beg.” 1 March 2011.)Participation in these council meetings is crucial in sustain positive momentum within the community. (fig. 3 Rose Park Revival) The second activity happening in Rose Park is the Rose Park Community Festival (see fig. 4). Thefestival is open to all community members and features food and live music. New this year at thefestival is the addition of a 5k race and a community film festival. This event is held every year in the
  • 7. middle of May. The event is a vital activity that helps community members to get to know one another.As the festival has been an ongoing event it has been successful in bringing the diversity of resident outto one organized community event. (fig. 4 Rose Park Community Festival) There is not a great deal of writing about the Rose Park area or community. The main outletsfor community writing can be seen on two blog style websites. The first website is Rose Park News(www.roseparknews.com) which reports on community events and activities. Rose Park News also has akept a good archive of a range of topics and stories that are related to the Rose Park area. The secondwebsite is a fairly new site called Rose Park Revival (www.roseparkrevival.com). Rose Park Revival isfocused on community projects and community activism. As these two sites continue forward they willcertainly help establish the positive reinforcement that the community deserves. As a member of the Rose Park community I can offer my own observations that Rose Park has abad reputation that has unfortunately been perpetuated by the local media. As evidence of this claim Ican point to a recent article in The Salt Lake Tribune by writer Heather May that essentially points toRose Park among other west side communities as a haven for the uneducated obese who dwell in poorliving conditions in a polluted and toxic sector of Salt Lake City. May’s article is actually titled, “The westside: where an ill wind blows”. This is just one example of slanted journalism that has reported an “ill”view of Rose Park and helped to perpetuate a bad image of the area. The only positive media mentionthat I was able to find was a staff article from City Weekly which mentions Rose Park as, “A truewalkable neighborhood, many of the streets in this little burg were designed in the shape of roses.”(“Best of Utah: Rose Park”, par 1.) To further supplement my community observations I spent some time walking around myneighborhood and talking to my neighborhood. I even made it a point to attend the first communityactivism meeting organized by Rose Park Revival. It was nice to see so many people who care about the
  • 8. neighborhood come to the meeting and offer their insights about how to better the image of thecommunity. The group spent an organized hour and a half coming up with community projects thatwould be beneficial to Rose Park. At the conclusion of the meeting the consensus was that the mediawould be invited along to the activities of the community projects for the sake of offering a positivepublic perspective. I also found that Rose Park Elementary hosts the annual Rose Park Communityfestival. This is an annual community gathering that is held every May. These observations point to thefact that Rose Park has a strong sense of community that seems to be growing still.
  • 9. Annotated BibliographyCity Weekly Staff. “Best of Utah 2010: Rose Park.” City Weekly. Web. 25 April 2011. The City Weekly Staff wrote this article to highlight an area that is often overlooked by localmedia. This was the only piece of writing that I was able to find from a local media source that reporteda positive outlook on the Rose Park area. This article also highlighted local businesses on the outskirts ofRose Park.RPR Editor. “Don’t make them beg.” Rose Park Revival. Web. 25 April 2011. The Rose Park Revival Editor wrote this blog entry as a call to action to encourage youngermembers of the Rose Park community to become involved with the Rose Park Community Council. Thisarticle illustrated the need for members of the community to band together for the betterment of thearea.May, Heather. “The west side: where an ill wind blows.” The Salt Lake Tribune. Web. 25 April 2011. This article was helpful in pinpointing the continual negative image that the local media hasportrayed Rose Park to be for years. This article was helpful as it gave contrast to the topic of Rose Park.In addition to Rose Park this article also reports on the supposed health crisis issues taking place on thewest side of Salt Lake.Wikipedia. “Rose Park, Salt Lake City.” Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 25 April 2011. The source was helpful as a factual reference for Rose Park. While brief this entry pointed outcritical data that is key in understanding the Rose Park area. Additional ResourcesRose Park News- www.roseparknews.comRose Park Community Festival- www.roseparkfestival.com
  • 10. Jim JacksonProfessor Lisa BickmoreEnglish 201025 April 2011 Blog article- Community Writing Project I have been a long time resident of Rose Park. I have lived in Rose Park long enough that I haveattended Rose Park Elementary, North West Intermediate, and even West High School. I moved awayafter high school and returned to purchase the house that I grew up in where I now live with my ownfamily. The reason that I am telling you this is that I love where I live. I am proud to live in Rose Park.Unfortunately this area has been branded with a bad reputation for many years. From childhood toadulthood I have continually heard about Rose Park being a “ghetto” and “high crime” area. Themiscellaneous labels for what Rose Park is don’t just stop at “ghetto”. A few months ago The Salt LakeTribune ran an article titled “The west side: Where an ill wind blows”(http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50786628-76/health-west-residents-lake.html.csp?page=1. Thearticles author, Heather May, continues to reinforce the “ill” stigma of Rose Park by reporting, “Whileabout one-third of adults in Rose Park and Glendale are obese, they live near the state’s trimmest, in theAvenues.” Unfortunately this is not the first time local media has painted the Rose Park area in a badlight. While this type of misguided reporting is not new it has definitely inspired me to take initiative forthe sake of representing and promoting my community in a better light. After all Rose Park is a greatplace to live and certainly does not deserve the reputation that it has. Rose Park is definitely not the slum area of Salt Lake that it reported to be. However theTribune article by Heather May possibly does have an underlying message that the people of Rose Parkneed to pay attention to. If you didn’t pick up on the message I will clarify it for you. What is each ofthe residents of Rose Park doing or not doing with in our community to better the community? Whilethis question does not directly relate to the article by Ms. May it really does in a roundabout sort of way.If more of our community residents were directly involved with our community’s on goings I don’t thinkthat writers like May would have as much opportunity to target our neighborhood with sour reporting. Recently I started participating with the efforts of Rose Park Revival. I took notice to the effortsof the community activist group last fall and have felt compelled to help the movement along. While it’seasy to be frustrated with media cover such as the Tribune it is entirely something else to get off theproverbial fence and do something. One thing that we can do is get involved with the Rose ParkCommunity Council. The community council needs the help of the community to better the image ofRose Park. The Rose Park Revival Editor reported in a recent blog posting that, “Most of the people whoare not attending (council meetings) are the young folks, the first time home buyers, but there are
  • 11. others too.” This blog posting struck a chord with me as I fall in to the category of people who are notattending council meetings. For me it’s easy to say that I am too busy to get involved. I work, I attendschool at Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College full time, I’m married and have twokids. I am sure that many of my younger neighbors are also in a similar situation. Despite theresponsibilities and commitments I realize that I have a stewardship as a member of my community.I’ve decided to get off the so called fence and do something. The Rose Park Community Council for themonth of May will be held on Wednesday the 4th. The meeting is held at the Day Riverside Library andbegins at 6:30 pm. Unfortunately things don’t stay neutral; they either get better or worse. If Rose Parkwasn’t a great place to live most of us wouldn’t live here. Let’s get off the fence and get involved. I’ll seeyou on Wednesday.
  • 12. Jim JacksonProfessor Lisa BickmoreEnglish 201025 April 2011 Action Brief- Rose Park Community Newsletter: May 2011 As May is here and there is no better time to get involved with the community than now. Thefirst and most important May event to get involved with is the Rose Park Community Council meetingwhich will be held on Wednesday, May 4th. The council meeting is held at the Day Riverside Library andstarts at 6:30 pm. As a challenge to the residents of Rose Park we are encouraging members of theneighborhood to attend the Rose Park Community Council for three consecutive months. Get involvedand let your voice be heard! Another date to put on your calendar is May 21st. On May 21st Rose ParkElementary will host the annual Rose Park Community Festival. This is a day not to miss as the event willhost a 5k race, the festival (with live music), and community film festival. Feel free to pass thisinformation along to your neighbors as all are welcome to attend these events. We hope to see you onMay 4th and May 21st.Dates to Remember: Rose Park Community Council- May 4th / June 1st / July 6th Community Council meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month at the Day Riverside Library starting at 6:30 pm. Meetings usually run 90 minutes. Rose Park Community Festival & 5k Race- May 21st The 5k race starts at 9:00 am. The festival starts at 10:00 am and runs until 2:00 pm.Websites to Bookmark: Rose Park News- www.roseparknews.com (Community News and More) Rose Park Festival- www.roseparkfestival.com (Festival, 5k, & Film Festival) Rose Park Revival- www.roseparkrevival.com ( Community Projects, Activism, & More)

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