Friday, May 5, 2017

Six Years

It's May! Time for all the good folks to gather at the Village Green--if only we knew where that was...

So begins my first blog post for Village Green/Town². It made its first appearance on Columbia Patch on this date in 2011.

Welcome to The Village Green. According to Wikipedia, a village green “… is traditionally at a central location and provides an open-air meeting place for the people of a village, for example at times of celebration, or for public ceremonies.”  
I am envisioning this space, where I will be sharing my ideas, as a village green of sorts—a place where we have the “customary right to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes.”
Almost daily I read news of Columbia’s villages: calling for participation, creating new visions, or struggling to reach consensus amidst polarizing differences. Just as often I cannot make up my mind whether to be encouraged and frustrated by it all.  So, this will be a place to sort it out with input from you, my fellow villagers.  
In a related entry, town squares are described: “Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets, music concerts, political rallies, and other events that require firm ground. Being centrally located, town squares are usually surrounded by small shops such as bakeries, meat markets, cheese stores, and clothing stores. At their center is often a fountain, well, monument, or statue.”
This sounds appealing to me. I’m wondering if we, as villagers, separated by neighborhood loyalties and generational differences, can come together to make a Town Square for Columbia that is as lively and relevant as a New American City deserves to be.
As you can see, I began with a focus on conflicting forces within  Columbia. But as time went on I became fascinated by the Columbia vs. HoCo dynamic, and the mission of the blog expanded accordingly. I certainly never envisioned how deeply I would be going into the Howard County School System. But as a teacher and a parent I found it to be a compelling local story. And I still do.
On the other hand, I'm looking forward to having more time to devote to the original purpose of this blog now that progress is being made on the school front. (Do I have ideas as to who I'd like to see fill that empty board seat? Sure I do. So does everyone I know.) 
Over the past year the local topic which has challenged me the most is racial justice, or, rather, the lack of it. Issues of diversity, racial equity in education, implicit bias, and systemic racism have become more and more crucial to me. I find it troubling that we can be touting "one Howard" and celebrating Columbia's 50th while evidence of a lack of progress looms large. 
Are we who we say we are?
Every day my blog and my day job duke it out for second place in my life, my family being first. My return to full-time employment this year has been both a challenge and a blessing. I'm grateful for the many opportunities my new job brings. But it definitely siphons off some of the creative energy that used to feed the blog.
A shoutout to my friend Mary Kate Murray who told me I should write a blog way back before I knew what blogs were, and to David Gresiman who was my mentor and editor at Patch. 
And a huge HoCo Holler to the readers and supporters of this blog. It was always meant to be a conversation, and you have made it so.

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