Alta Letter to the Editor: Lifting up, instead of tearing down
What started out as a negative Facebook page to members of the Alta community, has turned into the Alta community fighting back with kindness and love. In a time of “We are all in this together” with our COVID pandemic, a time of coming together with the Black Lives Matter movement, and loving thy neighbor in our small town communities, some still find it assumingly fulfilling to tear down others. But where there is darkness, loneliness and heartbreak, this letter will show we can find light, kindness and hope from others in time of need.
On the night of June 6th, a friend of mine drew my attention to a Facebook page titled “Alta’s Undesirable.” This page showed various properties around Alta whom the page creator deemed as “undesirable.” Some of these included an empty lot where construction was to happen with mounds of dirt for leveling the property, someone who had mowed their grass but had grass clippings, and some who were parked in their yard, yet not on a cement pad or gravel drive. While other houses did show some clear need for TLC, the Alta community found this page nitpicky, negative and a form of bullying for their neighbors. Our property itself and my family also became a victim to this page.
Listed on the Facebook page was a picture of the front of our property, believed to be due to our Suburban with a utility trailer, filled with bags of landscaping rock, parked out front of our house so it could be unloaded. The Suburban was parked there not long before the picture was taken and posted on Facebook. We have been tirelessly working on a “do-it-yourself” project of landscaping around our entire yard. Myself, being laid off since January, has been working on what I can during the day. My husband helps at night after a long day of work including Saturdays, and spending most of our whole Sunday. We also have two adopted children with special needs, the one with severe mental health and special needs. Knowing how much work we have put into our household, property, and family recently left us completely heartbroken to see such a post on such a negative Facebook page.
Although we were heartbroken it did not take long for other Alta community members to act behind us and others pictured on that page. Many calling out the page on their posts mentioning how hateful it truly was. Many neighbors came to our defense stating how much we had been working and how great our yard was looking. Seeing the posts defending us and others was emotional and uplifting. Soon we were getting notification from others in the community we barely knew asking if we needed anything. A few even went so far as to post on their pages how to report the page and get it taken down. Some took to the garage sale sites to alert other community members.
It was not long before word got out. It started with only our picture being taken off the site but led to so many Alta citizens and neighbors and friends coming together to report the site to Facebook. Before long, the entire site was taken off Facebook, unsure if it was the owner of the page due to the reports, or Facebook itself.
Having security cameras on our house we were clearly able to see the individual walk up from their house located nearby and take a picture. But that is not what this letter is intended to highlight. What this letter is intended to do is highlight an awesome community who came together to help others. What is more now there is a Facebook page titled “Altagether.” This page is meant for people to reach out to their neighbors, ask for help, and help the community grow. The creators of this page have also put together a “Good Neighbors Cleanup” days event. Friday, June 26 volunteers will work together to work on a list of projects around town for those that need some help from neighbors. What was meant to demean property owners ended up bringing the community together. And we thank each person who helped do this. What a better way in this crazy world - to lift others up instead of tearing them down.