AUGUST 18, 1941
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Yesterday morning looked so rainy that we dared not rush having the meeting of the Central Good Neighbor Committee on the picnic grounds, as we had hoped to do. Very hurriedly, we made arrangements to hold it in the big house instead. By 10:00 o'clock people were already arriving and the morning session opened at 11:00 o'clock.
Dr. John L. Elliott described the purpose of the meeting very well. He hopes that "Good Neighbors" all over the country will use the unit of the community, taking advantage of every organization, philanthropic, political or social, to meet the new needs as they arise. This does not mean that, of necessity, we must have a new organization every where, though there will be many places where people will want to form Good Neighbor Committees.
Even though the membership consists largely of people working in existing organizations, they may hope to use this committee as a clearing house where all constructive forces in the community may come together to discuss their programs, in order to meet more effectively the new demands brought about by the national emergency.
It is perfectly obvious, of course, that any communities situated near camps, or in areas where defense industries have largely augmented the working population, are finding themselves faced with many new difficulties. Inadequate housing, school facilities and recreation are a few of these problems. To meet them will require the cooperation of every citizen.
Ten possible areas of work were suggested, among them;
To interpret the national defense effort, not only generally, but in specific terms, concerning the ways in which it affects your own community.
To sponsor local meetings, or forums, to discuss the meaning of democracy.
To arrange neighborhood and community hospitality for soldiers on furlough, without regard to race or creed.
To cooperate actively in the spread of the nutrition program.
There are many other suggestions, but one of them I think of paramount importance. "To work actively to minimize racial and religious antagonisms, not only through the written or spoken word, but also through direct and active intervention to prevent discrimination in housing projects, in the operation of selective service, and in other actual relationships in which bias should not be countenanced."