LETTER: Business people, open your hearts

From reader Rowena Harvest….

Re: “Letter to the Mayor, Council and Residents” (Advertisement, May 5)

It was concerning me to read the rambling letter in the May 5 issue. This is the epitome of what gentrification looks like. This letter is a plea from the poor downtrodden, disrespected, disregarded, business owners of Nelson. Wait….what?

This business advertisement completely misses the point of what makes Nelson a “welcoming, unique and interesting town that cares about its community and residents.” Moving towards the future doesn’t mean moving people who are perceived as undesirable along or pretending the issue doesn’t exist. It means embracing people of all backgrounds, and engendering understanding, tolerance and compassion.

The problem isn’t people who have encountered hardship, or a unique downtown that doesn’t meet your standards. The problem is not addressing the real issue, that we as humans seem to blame the lowest denominator of society because they don’t have as strong of a voice, because it is near impossible to find a reasonable place to rent, because we are filled with judgment, because we’ve ceased to care and to willingly lend a hand, and yet say we do.

I understand the huge challenges small business owners face today, but instead of placing blame on those above and below you, open your hearts. It’s still a privilege and responsibility to be in such a position to have ownership. You have some influence and a unified voice.

Learn how to deal with those with the increase of mental illness if you are interfacing with the public every day, offer a small token of kindness to someone in your community who looks like they need it. Feel good about it, and encourage others to do the same. If there are broken windows, we must rise up as a community, all of us, and fix them. It isn’t one person’s job, but is collectively some of the most rewarding work you can engage in. And Nelson used to do it well.

Rowena Harvest

Slocan, formerly of Nelson