by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle
Several of my friends and associates have had many short and sweet fairly positive things to say about this paper and my involvement with it. While their comments are much appreciated and welcomed, I feel the need to share a closer look at the Currents. Hoping to be inspired by a bit of constructive criticism, I decided to interview Jenissee Volpintesta, because I can trust her to “tell it like it is.” Jenissee is a working mother of two rambunctious boys that I care for during her workweek. After months of chatting here and there about the content of the Currents, we finally sat down for this serious interview. Tanya: So, how long have you been in Riverwest? Jenissee: I’ve been a resident for about one year. I’ve been involved with this community for the past ten years due to having long term friends here, attending MIAD, and being involved with a natural foods co-op, the Riverwest Buyers’ Club. Tanya: What do you think about the content of the paper? Jenissee: Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I don’t think there’s a dialog between the Currents, what people care about, and what’s happening in the community. I read about 80% of the paper. There are some areas I enjoy reading on a monthly basis, but I would love to see more personal accounts and change initiative ideas for the community…more people speaking about what’s important to them. Tanya: What in or about the paper has pissed you off? Jenissee: The welcoming of gentrification to the area bothers me extremely. We are losing focus on the community as a whole by focusing on the monetary value of the area. I personally think that we need to put more time and energy into making the area a safe and AFFORDABLE place to raise our families in. When I hear of properties in the area being sold for $150,000 plus and rents exceeding $1,000 a month in areas that are still battling armed robbery, auto theft, rape, and assault…I am sickened. Tanya: Do you feel that your family is represented (socio-economic, ethnicity) in this community paper? Jenissee: No I don’t. I see the “bohemian yuppie” being the targeted demographic. When I see two-page articles about gentrification and advertisements for private schools, I feel alienated from the community that I care so strongly about. Tanya: What do you like about the Currents? Jenissee: I like hearing about the personal accounts and experiences in the neighborhood. I also like seeing the articles about events that are happening in Riverwest. Tanya: Tell me what you’d like to see in the paper. Jenissee: I feel we need to get a better cross-section of people contributing to the paper. Tanya: I agree! Would you like to be involved with the paper? Jenissee: If I had the time, but I would need creative freedom to put in what is important to my peers, my community, and myself. Our conversation continued beyond the interview. Jenissee suggested several ways to get more of YOU, the readers, involved with the Currents. We could list specific article ideas and readers could select one of interest, simply write it, and submit for possible publication. This interview has given me renewed determination to create a column in which individuals can feel comfortable speaking their minds. My goal is to share the spirit of our community, and there ain’t no better place to do it than the Currents!
Editor’s note: to review the Currents‘ coverage of gentrification in our neighborhood, see our Gentrification Readings Archive.
Riverwest Curents – Volume 1 – Issue 8 – September 2002
by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle