Day 23,703: There’s More of Us Than You’d Think
North Jersey is a hub of diversity. Even if you tend to hang with those most like yourself, as most of us are ought to do, you are surrounded by different people from different cultures with different food traditions and different dress codes. When you walk down the street of almost any community, you will see people who are different in some way from yourself.
This isn’t as true in South Jersey and many other parts of the country. Turns out it is just as shocking to the system to move and operate in a homogeneous community as it is to suddenly be thrust in the midst of diversity. You might think it’s easier to transition to homogeneity, but it isn’t. It becomes a wide wall of sameness, where it can be very threatening to admit you’re different.
I felt very isolated when we first moved here, from no recognition of Jewish holidays to a very dressed up cocktail culture in Atlantic City followed by a very dressed down culture in Cape May. I now have a very overfilled closet filled with clothes that fit different jobs in different parts of the same state.
Pockets of Blue
The perceived lack of diversity is worst, however, in the political arena. Both Atlantic and Cape May counties are considered red; but Cape May more so. Some areas of Cape May are so red that they frequently don’t have any democrats running for office at all, and several local positions are elected completely unopposed – in a democratic society!
Recently, however, there is an emergence of small enclaves of like-minded people emerging from the woods. I’ve now attended two group meetings for different organizations and, at each, after nervously looking around and taking a seat, people get giddy realizing they are not alone in their points of view. There is suddenly a growing community of people who previously felt isolated and alone.
It’s a phenomenon I’ve experienced before, usually with illnesses or other hardships. You don’t know anyone who’s had a miscarriage, until you have one and admit it. Then, you’re suddenly surrounded by a tribe of women who have had the same experience. It’s the same with heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s and family tragedies. It’s just a shame that it takes tragedies to realize there are support groups and many more of you out there than you might have originally thought.
Staying Focused on Sane Gun Policies: On March 24, for March For Our Lives, there are rally buses again leaving from various places in the nation to take protestors to Washington D.C. There are also rally buses from various NJ locations to marches in Morristown. Originally, I was planning to get myself to Philadelphia to lend support the cause. However, yesterday I found out there are many planned protests in smaller areas as well from Lewes, DE [10amm 910 Shields Ave] to Ocean City NJ [11am 5th and Boardwalk] and Freehold [2pm, Raintree Shopping Center]. Originally, I was heading to Philadelphia, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps it’s better for smaller communities to both see, and experience public displays of diversity of opinion. If interested in local events, continue checking the web site for MarchforOurLIves.com.