Sep 292020
The One Day House: What We Can Do Now

The pandemic and the onslaught of troubling news have left many of us in a position of feeling helpless. Only 12 people could sit on Breonna Taylor’s grand jury. What can we do to move the needle? How can we bring real and lasting change to our neighborhoods? We know we have to vote. What else is there? The One Day House by Julia Durango, illustrated by Bianca Diaz offers an answer. 

Wilson promises his grandmother, Gigi, that one day he will make repairs to her house to help her to live comfortably and safely. Gigi only needs Wilson to make her happy. As Wilson shares Gigi’s stories with more community members, he is unwittingly building a team who will come together to give Gigi the home of her dreams.

A real instance of The One Day House happened in Woburn, Massachusetts. A 72 year old woman, Gloria, was living in a house desperately in need of repairs. An electrician realized the size of her need and gathered other craftspeople and donations to renovate Gloria’s home. Beyond the physical fixes, Gloria’s Gladiators reignited an older woman’s joy and helped her to feel less alone. 

Every year to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, the City of Decatur gathers volunteers, skilled and unskilled, for the Martin Luther King Service Project. Participants help repair the homes of our neighborhood’s seniors to allow them to stay in their homes safely and with dignity. Making these repairs at no or low cost to the homeowners allows them to stay in their homes, preventing displacement and rampaging gentrification. 

There are so many things we can do for neighbors who might be alone or have decreased mobility or finances. From bringing over a bouquet of cut flowers from your garden or the store, leaving a meal on the porch, to helping organize craftspeople or skilled DIYers for repairs, we have the power to spread generosity and kindness. We can’t all be on the grand juries of the important cases we see in the news, but we can affect history by positively impacting our neighbors, one person at a time.

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