BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
I’ve recently recognized a problem we have in our communities that I’m naming “porosity” because of the “holes” and “leakiness” it involves.
Because Armenian communities in the U.S. (and in the Western world in general) are now an amalgam of multiple generations, arrivals, places of birth, etc., there is exist gaps in awareness of one another that complicate interactions and the functioning of the community.
For example, the chair of some committee A doesn’t know that person B is REALLY good at doing what the committee is supposed to do because these two individuals happen to have been born in different countries, largely travel in those circles, and therefore never had the opportunity to meet one another. This is a loss, a missed opportunity, on multiple levels.
Another situation rises when someone is actively involved in one of our organizations. As time goes on, that person drifts away, is overwhelmed by work or family commitments, moves away to school or for a job and ends up being unknown to newer participants in the organization. Later, the person returns to the organization because life’s circumstances allow, only to find s/he’s “lost his/her place” due to the period of absence. Expectations of respect for work done are unmet and the returnee feels offended. On the other hand, those currently active are miffed, wondering “who does this person think s/he is, waltzing in and expecting special treatment” without proving themselves.
A truly perverse and ironic situation is that of our “retired executives” who, having served their terms in our organizations’ hierarchies, return to being “regular members” willing (though sometimes not) to do grunt work again. They also expect a modicum of acknowledgement and awareness of their service. Yet, for similar reasons as above, these people’s talents often go either unrecognized or unused. Conversely, sometimes the years of service can also make the “retired executives” a bit arrogant or know-it-allish, making them difficult to work with.
If we keep circumstance such as these, and others like them, in mind regardless of whether we’re the current activists, people with talents willing to work and share, retired executives, or any other type of organizational person, we will do a great service to our communities, nation, and struggle. Awareness is very potent state of mind. Let’s use it to out benefit.