How do we build a beautiful city together when we are divided on so many fronts? My own optimism and hope is experiencing a resurrection of sorts based on what I am witnessing firsthand in my own community.
That premise “We Can Build a Beautiful City” rests on the assumption of cooperation. The “we” means that the hard work of community building cannot be done by individuals alone. We have to cooperate and collaborate.
In the first post of this series, my intent was to focus our attention on our individual responsibilities at the local level. I proposed that we should refuse to outsource our responsibilities to the government for all of our pressing societal challenges. Legislation can only take us so far. You can read that post here. The goal was not to question the value or role of good government, but to place it within its proper context, and to encourage local people to take ownership for tackling our community’s toughest challenges.
I continue to be convinced that there are major societal challenges that we should confront and on which we make progress at the local level. In York, PA, we are seeing the early fruit of a four-year dialogue between our county police chiefs and Black and Latino communities. We recently launched a dialogue between our county’s economic leaders and local leaders of color to talk about how we work together so that York is a thriving, inclusive place for everyone. A plan of action is emerging as we speak and there are various strategies being formed in other pockets of the community. These are more than just conversations but actual plans with measurable goals. The diverse people involved are building relationships and trust in each other but there is much work to be done.
We can build together even if we don’t agree as long as we are united in a relentless pursuit of the truth. Here is how we do that.
Welcome the opportunity to engage in civil dialogue
Pick a pressing issue that requires more dialogue at a local level: healthcare, affordable housing, homelessness, racial injustice, economic opportunity, community policing, school choice, etc. Now imagine a table of 8–10 people who have been carefully selected and…