Miriam Webster defines identity as the distinguishing character or personality of an individual. In psychology, identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person (self-identity) or group (collective identity). How would I define myself? I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m an aunt, cousin and niece. I value community and care for my neighbors. I’m forever a cheerleader. I try to be a Christian (but trust me I fail, often). I’m Black. I’m a woman. Often times, others define our identity. They see us based on our profession, who our family is, our decisions — good and bad — and our accomplishments. How would others define me? James’ daughter. Ed and Bobbie’s granddaughter. A Jones girl. A Jones. A connector. Community leader. Member of Asbury. NAACP leader. An Alpha Kappa Alpha. A good neighbor. Who I am is a reflection of my family, my faith and my community.
I’m fortunate. I’ve never questioned who I am or really had to think about it. I just am. I’m fortunate because I’ve always been surrounded by people who love, support, care enough about me to tell me when I’m wrong and love me despite it all.
Family, community, identity and acceptance are common threads in our March issue. We introduce you to a family who chose one another. We meet a community leader and see him through the eyes of his daughter. We explore identity and respect. We learn about a business, created by a family for families and with community in mind.
What I gleaned from the stories this month is that each of us seeks love, acceptance and understanding and each of us is doing something for our community. The identity of a community, of our community, is built on respect and understanding. That’s how we build community.
Respecting who a person is, how they identify and what they do to better our community is important. I hope that in this issue, you see yourself and see others with new eyes.
Karen E. Jones