Something more than pretty trees and sidewalks …

By Rosalie Tirella

… needs to happen in Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods…

Here, in Union Hill, we have the newly planted trees, newly poured sidewalks …

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photos:R.T.

A few days ago I saw all the pretty new trees all in a row, straight as an arrow, planted down Providence Street …

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Paid for by the federal government. Also: a new municipal parking lot. And new programs for neighborhood families stressing healthy choices. And … a stronger community police presence.

I am not too hopeful.

A few folks may get it. Most won’t.

The INTRACTABLE problem?

The poverty is still here!!! The kids undernourished, their parents outside of society. Hence our trash dumping problem, our heroin problem, gun violence, hopelessness … even in creating more attractive Worcester inner-city neighborhoods.

Some folks, like poopy diapers Paul Collyer and Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney (Collyer’s political mentee) clamor for the Trump solution: KEEP ‘EM OUT! We can’t build a physical wall like Trump is promising, they say, but we can build others – invisible ones! –  just as impervious! No more section 8! No more low income housing!

They turn away from the people who come to cities to start life in America!

But Worcester, like New York, Boston, Lawrence or Lowell,  will always be a Gateway City!

LOCKING PEOPLE OUT IS NOT THE ANSWER!

GOOD PAYING JOBS for the undereducated is the answer – just like our factories provided our people decades ago.

They’re mostly gone now  …

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… and with them the leg up the poor and uneducated needed to achieve the American Dream: homeownership, security, safe neighborhoods. BELONGING. HAPPINESS.

All you needed was to work hard, like my Polish grandpa did in Dudley’s textile mills. The day he joined his Union was an IMPORTANT and CELEBRATORY day for his family!

His daughters thought they were the bees knees! They had hope!

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My mother (on the left, hugging my fave auntie) was whip smart; she was offered the opportunity to attend a junior college on scholarship! A terrific, impressive achievement for the daughter of a poor Polish immigrant mill worker in the 1940s! Most women did not attend college back then – especially poor ones like Ma.  But she had to work to help support her family.

She worked so hard, she deferred her dreams!!! … later to dream them through her daughters, through me: The fact that I am a pretty ok writer was never ever lost on my late Mom, who before her illness at 80, read every one of my stories and had something wise to say about each and every one of them. From the time I was 10!!! A life time of nurturing her daughter! Her American dream!

My mom had two doctor nephews (the sons of the above auntie!), one engineer neice (a trail blazer!) besides a daughter with a community paper! I’ll never forget: My old Ma in that wretched nursing home, in her wheelchair, with copies of InCity Times on her bony legs. Ma rolling around the east wing of the nursing home with ICT bouncing in her lap, giving out copies of InCity Times to the distracted nurses – actually pressing them on the LPNs and nurses aides! So pushy for my little rag, just days before her death! So proud of her favorite daughter!

It used to take a few generations to make it the way you wanted to make it in America, be it financially, artistically, whatever you chose to be. Now we Americans feel stagnant, stuck and anxious about our futures. Hence, Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left.

Candidate Hillary Clinton needs to make US BELIEVE!

Clinton needs to make good on her promises:

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

UNIVERSAL PRE-K

FREE TUITION AT OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES

A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE

A REVISED NAFTA and other global trade pacts

PAY EQUITY …

Hubby Bill says HILLARY CARES FOR US! Loves us strivers! The daughters and sons, grandsons and granddaughters of immigrants! The strugglers in poor inner city neighborhoods, working poor Americans! OF WHICH THERE ARE A LOT!!

WE HOPE THIS IS TRUE!!! BILL CLINTON SO INSPIRED US at the DNC! He gave a speech all right! MADE US WANT TO BELIEVE IN HIS WIFE!

We will need to believe – and have all of the above opportunities – like all of Western Europe has had for decades! – to make up for our lost factories, an America that worked for so many people.

America cannot be tweaked!

America needs an economic and social overhaul!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trees and flowers in inner-city neighborhoods are beautiful – and always welcome. But the real work needs to happen … NOW!

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