[this city] has issues.
Whether it’s the jobs lost over the years, the good people who have moved away, or the streak of bad luck we’ve experience, [this city] has issues. All cities do.
But there’s a larger problem.
When we speak of these issues and try to cope with them we do so in a backwards and upside down sort of way.
Read the comments in the local paper, overhear conversations on the bus, engage in a discussion with a friend or simply walk down the street and you’ll hear things like:
Worry. [this city] is corrupt. old & white. not enough. unrepairable. unemployable. conservative. fucked. devastated. a lost cause. poor. broken. stagnant. backwards. immature. etc.
The list goes on and on.
Why is it when we speak about [this city] and try and deal with present and pressing issues we do so in such pessimistic and destructive ways?
Why don’t we speak to [this city] and about [this city] in the same way we speak to close friends who are down on their luck?
When we speak to friends that are going through similar things that [this city] has gone through we share ideas of hope and words of optimism. We tell them:
Don’t worry. Everything will be ok.
Don’t worry. Good things happen to awesome people. You are awesome.
What if instead of being negative and overly pessimistic when speaking about [this city] we were optimistic and helpful, finding ways to deliver messages that inspire and re-energize citizens of [this city].
What if we told citizens, [this city] and ourselves:
Don’t worry. [this city] is giving. inspiring. amazing. useful. talented. home. fulfilling. decent. innovative. thoughtful. good. admirable. respectable. and above all else, awesome.
Because right now our approach is backwards and upside down.
What if we took ideas founded on optimism and created solutions based on them that have the ability to make wide reaching, long term, interconnected change, rather than the temporary, insulated impact we often focus our time and attention on.
What if we could inspire citizens to take pride in and ownership of [this city].
What if every citizen took enough ownership to declare, openly and honestly, that:
This is my city.
What if each citizen had enough pride to participate in open, honest and adult conversations about [this city], for better or worse.
What if citizens started to invest in themselves, their friends, communities, fellow citizens and [this city].
We should love where we live, or at least like it.
How can citizens become inspired and re-energized about [this city] to once again take pride in it and ownership of it?
We need to celebrate [this city] to increase awareness of it among ourselves and those on the outside. We need to once again become proud that this is the place we all call home. We need to become reconnected with one another through the one thing we all have in common: [this city].
This is our city. This is where we live.
If we choose to not take pride in and ownership of [this city] by having open, honest and adult conversations about it, for better or worse, others will. They already do.
should need to do something about this.
Whether it’s conversations with strangers on the bus or sitting down over coffee with a friend, we need to start talking about [this city] in constructive ways. We need to become re-connected to [this city] and one another. We need to take a better approach to how we cope with present, pressing and future issues.
So when the time comes we can talk about [this city] and to [this city] like we would if it were a good friend. So we can remind ourselves:
Don’t worry. [this city] is awesome.