Please remember that you're neighbors, right here at home


This week’s edition of The Riverdale Press is my fourth as the editor. I don’t pretend or purport to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the area just yet, but I do know the greater Riverdale community is a diverse, textured community with deep connections to the history of this country and, through its inhabitants, the history of several others.

And right now, it feels like maybe some of those inhabitants are a little bit at war.

And that’s largely understandable. On the other side of the world, there are some awful, repellent things going on right now, things to which many residents here feel inexorably attached, and by which many of our neighbors are pained.

We’ve talked about some of those things in these pages, even in the short time I’ve been the editor. It’s not easy to do, but it’s part of the duty — and the DNA — of this newspaper. I recognize that. It’s, in the most basic sense, what the readership here deserves.

I don’t believe in any religion or any god. So, it might be easy for someone like me to excuse myself from recent history, from generous swaths of history over my lifetime, and leave everyone else to it, as it were.

Doesn’t work like that.

Witnessing human slaughter — and believing the dead cease to exist in all ways and on every plane — can be onerous, even unfathomable. It’s especially painful to know people are being erased because of what they believe, how they believe, where they live, or what they look like.

It’s exponentially worse, someone like me can only imagine, when the people it’s happening to are people who believe, live and look just like you.

And so, the feelings that lead to terrorism and war can spread to shores beyond the borders of their origins. And when they do, no one is allowed to tell you how to react to it, how to feel about it. And no one — least of all someone like me — can understand what it might make you want to say.

Or do.

In the coming weeks, Richie Stein — who led this newspaper his parents founded for decades with his brother Buddy — will return to Riverdale to take the current staff — relative Riverdale neophytes all — on a tour of the coverage area.

The spirit with which I anticipate that tour to be given is the same spirit I expect the reporters and I will find when we’re out among you — hearing your stories and, through these pages, telling them to the world.

Riverdale first. And maybe, Riverdale best.

Sometime, hopefully within our lifetime, the slaughter on the other side of the world will end. In its place might be a peace built on acceptance, understanding and harmony. In its place might be the lifeless desolation resultant of never having found any of those things.

But it will end.

And you’ll be here. Or your children will. Or your great-great-grandchildren will. Because, somewhere back in time, for reasons destined to be forgotten, you came to the greater Riverdale community — to live, to prosper, to grow — and you had neighbors who did the same for reasons of their own.

Whatever else you are, wherever else you’re from, you’re neighbors here. Your lives, your loves, your children: they’re here. And when the death and hatred on the other side of the world ends — now, or three centuries from now — you’ll still be here.

Or at least, the best parts of what you left behind will be.

Please try to remember that as the weeks wear on and your eyes and fingers peruse the pages of The Riverdale Press.

You’re still neighbors. Here.

The author is editor of The Riverdale Press

Riverdale community, local news, diverse neighborhoods, global impact, community connections, editor's perspective