Sunday, January 21, 2018

Don’t Blink

I direct your attention to a post by the River Hill CA Rep, Dr.Chao Wu, about Thursday’s CA Budget Hearing. It’s relatively short. You can find it here.

First of all, on the appearance of Cy Paumier and his crowd trying to undo, destroy, start over and think small for Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods:

I. Can’t. Even.

Enough already. People are already enjoying the park. They are excited about the next phases. Just imagine what you could do with all your spare time if you weren’t dedicated to wrecking the next generation’s dreams. Shame on you. Columbia was always meant to be about dreaming big dreams but you all want to clench it in your fist and put it in your pocket if things don’t go your way.


Secondly, look at the accompanying photo in the post. Enlarge it if you wish. How many people of color do you see? And specifically, how many African Americans? How many people under the aged of forty? Fifty?

Look at this photograph. Look, and don’t look away. What you see in this room is a far bigger threat to the health and well-being of Columbia than who gets to design a community park. This is who turns out on a Thursday night to talk about how the Columbia Association spends our money: primarily white people over the age of fifty.

I’m a white woman over the age of fifty and I look at this photo and can see clearly that this kind of turnout means younger residents and non-white residents don’t feel included or engaged. If this were important and relevant to them, they’d be there. Why aren’t they there? What obstacles are in their way? Is it perhaps that they haven’t been made to feel welcome?

Here, friends, is your crisis.

Mr. Paumier and his buddies should be out in every village inspiring young people and people of color to get involved. To feel a sense of ownership. To run for village board and for CA Rep. By all accounts they have quite a bit of free time to dedicate to a cause. It’s really too bad they haven’t chosen this one.

What an incredible cross-generational, cross-cultural venture this would be. I rarely say this, but I think it would be the sort of thing that would make Jim Rouse smile. We are at a crossroads in the life of the New American City. Where we are going it would be useful to have coaches, mentors, and guides. Instead we have people rearranging deck chairs.

It’s not too late, folks. This ship you love so much does not have to go down. But if you care as much as you say you do, you need to take on a new mission: one that empowers others.

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