Mead Street Manifesto

by Mikala Woodward on July 6, 2010

Tagged as: Gifts / Hospitality / Association / Kindness / Generosity / Cooperation / Acceptance of Fallibility

Drafted by neighbors on a small stretch of Mead Street in Southeast Seattle. It's still a work in progress as you can see. 

People all over the country lament the loss of community, neighborhoods, local culture.  "Nobody knows their neighbors anymore,"  they say.  Parents are so busy chauffering their overscheduled children from soccer to ballet that neither they nor the kids have time to enjoy each other's company.  People spend their lives in their cars, commuting long hours to work, and then driving to the mall on the weekends.  People watch too much TV, eat too much fast food.  Nobody walks to school anymore, or bakes their own bread, or --

Here on Mead Street we're not buying it. 

We believe the depressing trends cited above are exaggerated, or if not, that they're reversible.  It may be true that people spend too much time in their cars, or that local economies are difficult to maintain in an age of globalization.  But people can choose to create local communities and spend their time, energy, and money in them.  We do it on Mead Street.

We want our children to grow up surrounded by adults who know them and love them.  We want them to know how to play together with people of all ages, genders, and cultures.  We want them to know how to stand up for themselves, apologize, forgive, negotiate, and resolve their conflicts. We want them to understand generosity, compassion, and justice.  We want them to love the world they live in and work to make it better.

We know that the best way to instill these values in our children is to live them ourselves.  And we want our example to spread beyond Mead Street as well.  We believe our community can be an example for others, an inspiration to the world. (Woah.) 

To that end, we share with you the Mead Street Manifesto:

We honor all our differences.
When we disagree, we start with curiosity rather than judgment.
We are present with difficult moments.
We don't give up on each other, even when we're feeling desperate and berserk. 
When we need some space, we let each other know, and we get it.
We forgive ourselves and each other.
We learn from our mistakes.
We resolve conflicts peacefully and honestly.
We believe in each other.
We take care of each other, and we let others take care of us.
We consider the long term perspective.
We balance our commitments to work, family, and community.
We reflect.
We recognize the value of doing nothing, of unprogrammed time.
We believe being bored and exasperated - and sticking it out - leads to deeper intimacy. 
We look forward to growing old together. 
We create local culture: traditions, music, games, shared experiences and expectations. 
We engage ideas and themes from popular culture, history, religion, and literature from all over the world.
We follow our personal passions and support each other in doing so.
We work together to accomplish things we could never achieve alone.
We work for peace.
We take leadership with our core values:

Generosity
Compassion
Connection
Passion

These values manifest themselves in many ways on Mead Street.  We believe that neighborhood barbecues, childcare exchanges, casseroles for new parents, backyard baseball, homemade pie, eating from the garden, neighborhood parades, and live music all create and strengthen our connection to each other and our community.  We believe in sitting around in the sun on a summer afternoon, running through the sprinkler, maybe walking down to the grocery store for a popsicle. 

Moreover, we believe that these activities and principles -- if widely adopted, truly understood, and properly honored -- can save the world.