2017 has been a thrilling year in the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods. We’ve benefitted from Community Improvement Projects and transformed vacant lots by planting gardens and building benches, and by installing art, address plaques and solar lamps throughout the neighborhood. We’ve supported current homeowners by connecting them to resources that help them maintain and improve their homes. We’ve encouraged renters considering homeownership to explore what’s possible right here in the neighborhood. We’ve participated in the celebrations that make our community unique such as Locust Street Festival, Juneteenth Day, the Riverwest24 bike race, Center Street Daze and Riverworks Week.
We know that these are examples of strengths upon which to build and will lay the foundation for the work ahead in 2018. We also know that there are inevitable challenges that may require us to make changes and adjust our course. Sometimes these are driven by external factors over which we have no control. However, we often have more power than we might believe and can influence circumstances we may have assumed to be beyond our control. No matter the source of change in our lives, whether through personal ambition or external forces, we have the ability to find the best course of action within our circumstances.
Let’s work together in the year ahead to challenge our assumptions about where and how we can influence change. It’s more important than ever to be civically minded and engaged. We need to exercise our democratic voice, not just by going to the polls and voting but by holding those in office accountable. A letter to an elected representative is a good way to start. We also have power in our everyday gestures of kindness and generosity. It’s tempting to mitigate the effect of these smaller moments of interpersonal encouragement, but these everyday choices form the foundation of the world in which we live. Let’s influence the world.