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Showing posts from June, 2009

Either I do it or it won't get done

I don't know whether the universe conspires to send us messages when we're ready for them or if they're always there and we just notice them when we're ready. All I know is that over the last couple of weeks I've been hearing something that seems to be coming through loud and clear. So I think its time to pay attention. The message I've been hearing is captured by the title of this diary...either I do it or it won't get done. This first came through a couple of weeks ago when I had the privilege of attending a speech by Geoffrey Canada, founder of The Harlem Children's Zone . In case you haven't heard of this initiative, 20 years ago Canada took on 100 blocks of Harlem and made the commitment that he and those he worked with would "do whatever it takes" to help the children in that area grow up healthy and strong. His work has been so acclaimed that communities all over the country are trying to replicate it and Obama has promised to inc

On knowing when to make a u-turn

Several seemingly divergent thoughts are roaming in my head today and so I thought I might find the threads of connection by trying to write about them. The foremost is about an experience I had at work this week. To explain, it will take giving some here it is. We have been working with a neighborhood in our city that has identified a desire to develop some different ways of handling groups of kids who roam the streets and scare the residents. The subtext here is that most of the kids who scare people are African American and most of the adults who are scared (and angry) are working class white people. The neighborhood is in transition as the working class jobs leave the area and families of color who are trying to escape the violence of urban areas like Chicago, Detroit, etc. move in. So race and class tensions are very real and this is one place they are being demonstrated. In that context, we have been holding weekly meetings with 20-30 adults in the neighborhood