Saturday, November 19, 2016

Showing Up

If there were a local award for a blogger who doesn't really have a blog but finds ways to blog anyway, it would probably go to Ian Kennedy. He's a very busy man. If you don't believe, just Google him. (Make sure you include Howard County in your search or you'll get the baseball player.) On his LinkedIn Page Mr. Kennedy describes himself as follows:

Professional policy wonk, story-teller, and all around do-gooder.

Here is a story he told over a series of tweets this week:

My first involvement in #ColumbiaMD community stuff was on an environmental subcommittee for @ColumbiaAssn. At our first meeting CA’s staff liaison tried to get us to settle on a regular meeting date. Coordinating calendars was difficult, to say the least. And he joked: “The is Columbia, where everyone’s favorite hobby is going to meetings.” I was in my early 20s, not yet married & didn’t even have a job (in grad school). But I remember thinking: “wow, that sounds [not fun]”. But time passes and things change… Last night, as my wife and I navigated a conference-call-to-village-board-meeting hand-off… And then later we tried to coordinate child care for double-booked evening later this week, I thought… Chick (the CA committee liaison from a decade+ ago) was right… And I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can only change the world if you show up. #ColumbiaMD #HoCoMD #changebeginsathome #bethechange /done

I agree that showing up is a big deal. I don't agree with Columbia's crazy addiction to meetings, though. I can admire Ian's dedication to the things that matter most to him while, at the same time, wishing we were involving more residents in different ways. If the future of Columbia belongs only to those who are willing/able to go to meetings...

I want to say, "then we're doomed," but that's a little dramatic. It's more accurate to say that being so meeting-centric really narrows the pool of whose voices will be heard. And narrowing the pool is hardly what Columbia is all about.

There's showing up for social justic, showing up to fight hunger, showing up at the polls to vote. I get that.

But showing up for meetings? There's got to be a better way. Or rather, can it please not be the only way?

A tip of the hat to Mr. Kennedy for all the work he does, including meetings, to make Columbia awesome.

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