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Community: Now More Than Ever

com·mu·ni·ty

[kəˈmyo͞onitē/]
noun

a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

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Are you asking yourself, ‘What the heck is going on in this world?!’ Because, I am.

When I read the newspaper, scan my Google alert headlines, or catch the news, I can easily go to a place where I think the entire world is in conflict.

It’s seems the actions of people in charge – be them local, national or international elected officials, be them chief officers of banks or corporations, be them civil servants like the police, be them religious institutions and their leaders – fail to account to the communities in which they sit, operate, and serve.

We are those communities.

Community is a noun by definition, but in order to BE a community with one another we must be active, we must DO something. But the big question is: how do we claim or reclaim our communities?

I understand community as our common responsibility, as being of benefit to us and as something valuable that cannot be left to others to define or decide who is included, where the boundaries and rights begin and end, and who gets to participate fully.

As an attorney, breaking down the distance and barriers that exist between citizens and their full enjoyment of rights is part of my responsibly. My profession is implicated in the fact that my local and global community feels this distance and often suffers gravely as a result. That is why articles like Alina Tugend’s “There’s More to Estate Planning Than Just the Will” is such a breath of fresh air coming from the legal world. If we are to repair our communities and give our community members the tools necessary to properly advocate for and protect themselves, we must share information; the kind of information that has been protected, hoarded, and siloed for far too long.

By sharing this information via the NY Times, Alina Tugend has engaged in a radical act and created a space for exchange that doesn’t overwhelm the possibility of community and meaningful interaction, but rather demands a new and renewed commitment to just that.