Suarez is Senior Correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
on PBS. For many years he was host of NPR’s Talk of
the Nation. His journalism career has included assignments
in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London and Rome. He is the
author of The Old Neighborhood– What we Lost in the
Great Suburban Migration: 1966-1999 (1999). He was interviewed
for A Lot in Common in July, 2000.
"Bad things happen when places cannot live up to the use
that they were designed for. This isn’t an inner-city problem,
this isn’t a black problem, this isn’t a Latin problem.
It’s an American problem, and it takes neighborhood action
to turn that around. Neighbors who know each other feel more safe
about living on their block, even in dangerous neighborhoods.
Knowing others and being known creates a way for people to gauge
their real risk on the streets of their neighborhoods: to know
what’s dangerous and what’s not. In the old neighborhood,
the lady across the street who looked out the window all the time.
The guy down the block who when you fell off your bike, knew where
you lived, knew who your parents were. We gave that up, traded
that in for a new way of life. But we were so quick to trade that
in for a new way of life that we threw away the good stuff along
with the bad stuff.
The value of real community is created when we open ourselves
up to the people that we live with, make common cause with them
in making this place a decent place to live. And there are heroes
coast to coast who are responding to that call, that call to open
themselves up to their neighbors."