Main Street Ethic Statement
Downtowns and Neighborhoods are for EVERYONE.
Here at the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, we know that our Main Streets and Elm Streets are made most vibrant when we weave together the stories, cultures, experiences, identities, and ideas of every resident and visitor. When we say, “We see you. We hear you. We value you.” and then prove those words by offering opportunity equitably and honestly, we foster a sense of belonging that leads to a shared pride of place.
When we create a community culture where all members are treated as essential stakeholders, we open the door wide for participation in revitalization.
THERE’S WORK TO BE DONE.
We’re calling upon our accredited and affiliated Main Street programs, Business Improvement Districts, and Elm Street programs to ask key questions about equity as they approach their work. Questions like:
- Does our program offer a full and honest telling of our downtown’s history?
- Whose voices have been left out that we now have an opportunity to lift up?
- Do our board members, committee members, and staff accurately reflect the racial, religious, age, ability, gender identity, and economic make-up of our community?
- Are our events and the events we support or promote inclusive and welcoming to ALL?
- When our communities celebrate the varied facets of our culture, identity, and heritage do we embrace all these events with equal enthusiasm?
- Do our Main Street business owners reflect the demographics of our community?
- Do all our business owners have fair and equitable access to working capital and contracts?
- Does our organization have a plan in place to discuss and address conflict if/when it arises?
The Pennsylvania Downtown Center is committed to working with Main Street, Elm Street, and BID Managers and their communities to answer these questions and find solutions that create more equitable and opportunity-rich programs.
THIS WORK REQUIRES COURAGE.
It’s imperative that our downtown and neighborhood programs reinforce their inclusive values and support a sense of belonging for all.
Unfortunately, hate crimes and hate group gatherings continue to take place here. Our responsibility to uphold strong community values means insisting on mutual respect for all. While we celebrate our freedom of speech and value a diversity of ideas, we should not tolerate speech or behaviors that harm, intimidate, or threaten members of our community.
As we address these issues, we stress the need to lead with respect and civility. At times a focus on preserving and promoting civility leads people to embrace neutrality. But neutrality in the face of incivility – whether personal attacks, hate speech, or other forms of disrespectful discourse – is not adequate. We can do better. When faced with extreme incivility, community leaders need to have the courage to speak out in support of a healthy, diverse community.
At the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, we’ve seen the courage of our communities and know they are up to this challenge.
If your community is facing problems addressing a lack of civility, please reach out to us here at the Pennsylvania Downtown Center so we can connect you with resources and guidance.