I tend to link to articles by bloggers who are cheerleaders for the city, and having been a cheerleader (decades ago), I’d like to say something about what that means. Despite appearances, cheerleaders are not delusional. We are well aware when our team is losing. We know when the team is struggling. And, we know when it’s kicking ass. Because the cheers aren’t along the lines of “We suck, we smell, our championship has gone to hell,” we might seem to be in denial of reality. But, I think the purpose of the Cheerleader is to accentuate the strong points, urge the team toward success (or improvement), and make the whole trip a bit more interesting. I am thinking about Heather Brandon, Helder Mira, Luis Cotto, Jude, Amy Bergquist, and Julie Dixon while writing this, but also those without blogs who are cheering for Hartford in other ways.
There are dozens of government and community organizations that exist to improve the city and the lives of those in it. Some of the groups receiving better publicity, unfortunately, all seem to be centered around the Yuppies (young urban professionals). Like Julie, I think it’s better to have them involved than not involved, but it is easy to see why those whose understanding of Hartford is only through the media, might believe that there’s not much going on here in the way of community. I’d like to see the more media savvy groups reach out to lift up other community organizations– not just the careers of young professionals. That would be terrific goodwill.
One organization that has the right spirit in this moment is Leadership Greater Hartford. LGH, formed in 1977, has their goals right on:
*Provide current and emerging leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to be effective in a changing world;
*Create a network that reflects and embraces the wide diversity of leadership within the community;
*Provide a forum for people from different experiences to come together and undertake collaborative endeavors;
*Engage members to assume important community leadership roles for the future.
One of my criticisms of current universities and colleges that I may or may not be employed by is their failure–across the board–to truly push students to be involved in the community. Certainly, there are attempts, but it seems that the development of the individual outranks that of the development of a person-in-the-community as far as goals do. It’s good to know that there are organizations that take this part of life seriously.
Leadership Greater Hartford has organized a public event for Monday, June 30th (rain date: July 1st) at Bushnell Park. This vigil/concert/speak-out will begin at 7pm and run for approximately two hours. A crucial aspect of this event is that:
ordinary citizens will share extraordinary stories of hope and goodwill. Area nonprofit groups will be offering people opportunities for involvement and citizens will be stepping up to make new and additional commitments to help build a greater Hartford.
Like any worthwhile event, the conversation will be moving in more than one direction. Attendees will be able to express themselves in writing or orally, as to how they (we) would like to see things improve, and what we vow to do to make this happen. I like that there is this invitation for people, regular people, to make this kind of commitment. It is right of us to expect politicians to create just laws and allocate funds that will assist in developing/securing necessary social programs; that does not dissolve ordinary people from taking responsibility to be involved in the communities where they live. Civic duty, patriotic duty, whatever you want to call it, means way more than serving jury duty or voting once a year.