“If you listen long enough you can hear my skin grow tough – love it painful to the touch – must be made of stronger stuff.”
A lot of people love their community.
Some love their community passively, as in, they love the culture or the food scene, or a special attribute of it. Others love their community because they are “from” there, meaning that they identify with the people and history of the area. Finally, there are those that love their communities in a deeper way. They are willing to fight for it and its people relentlessly. They aren’t necessarily from this community originally and they don’t always think their “place” is perfect, but for whatever reason they are willing to give their hearts and souls to defend this place and make it better.
For economic developers, these people may surface as either a critic or as an avid supporter. Either way, we should encourage their passion and seek to create positive action from it. There is a table for everyone that wants to contribute to the success and betterment of the community. For the critic and advocate alike, be ready to provide solutions and to work constructively with those with different perspectives and to keep in mind that your end goal is very often the same.
I encourage us all to love our communities a little bit more today. Our hearts go out to El Paso and our close friends in Dayton, as well as neighborhoods across our country where reports of violence are as common as box scores. Our endeavor should be not only to create vibrant economic places that people love to live in, but to create communities of people that respect and take care of one other within and outside those lines.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to recognize all who participated this weekend in Pelotonia. The vision and tremendous support of the people of the Columbus Region are literally changing lives around the world with the research they fund to find a cure for cancer.