The Party's Over, it's time to call it a day.
They've burst your pretty balloon and taken the moon away.
What if you had a party and nobody came? How would you feel? How would you respond?
Consider the ongoing party in Columbia that we call CA Aquatics:
In looking at traditionally underused pools in Columbia, a member of the CA Aquatics Staff suggested that the culture of certain 'populations' didn't promote swimming. In other words, lack of pool use stems from lack of interest.
Really? Isn't this like saying to the starving French peasants that their predicament is caused by a lack of interest in cake?
It's time to wind up the masquerade.
Just make your mind up the piper must be paid.
What if you had a party and nobody came because they didn't know they were invited?
The CA experience, the way that Columbia "was meant to be" is unknown and largely irrelevant to many of our residents. Institutions like this just can't survive without ongoing evangelism, and by this I mean outreach which is continually evolving to meet the needs of its community. Not just to the community we imagine to be the true Columbia. We are not all generally well-educated, generally middle and upper middle folks who can join CA and shop at the Mall.
I do not dispute that CA has some programs to meet the needs of lower-income residents. But I don't think they are being offered in a way that truly reaches the people they need to reach. It reminds me of the Washington Post's rather smug slogan, "If you don't get it--you don't get it."
Very true. And now where are we?
The Party's Over.The candles flicker and dim.
You danced and dreamed through the night,
it seemed to be right...
A young, well educated professional in Columbia said to me recently, "Well, of course there's no way that CA facilities could accommodate all residents. So they had to have a way to restrict it: by income."
Breathtakingly simple. Yes, it may be just one opinion. But this is someone who has lived here for twelve years and this is what has been communicated to her.
Are we really going to where the people are and finding ways that are relevant to them to involve them in the benefits that Columbia can offer? Or are we using the same old ways to promote and expecting, no, requiring, people to come to us?
We are on the verge of closing (at least one) pool located in an area of the greatest need. Actions like this say to me that somebody, somewhere (or quite a few somebodies) think that these people are not real Columbians. Or perhaps, that some Columbians are more equal than others.