While contemplating the topic of my first piece for Heartland Now, I kept coming back to what is most present on my mind. And that is my transition to my next chapter as I begin to build a life and career in Indianapolis. I’ve recently moved to the St. Claire Place neighborhood and started my job as Executive Director of a local non-profit. And my real excitement comes when I think about joining those working to make our city and our state even better. To be a driving force in improving our community and raising the level of discourse in our politics, is my mission.
But how can the way I am viewing this next phase of my life add value and insight to you as a reader? I think most of us have an inherent desire to ignite positive change and be drivers for good in our community. At times though, we can be caught up in our day-to-day priorities and struggles. For many, putting extra time in outside of professional and family responsibilities doesn’t seem like a possibility. We may simply just need a reminder about the power our advocacy and actions. Perhaps we need the fire in our belly to be fanned by a Heartland Now article to evoke a sense of urgency. That’s why I write this today.
On Mother’s Day I had the privilege of giving a commencement address at Wabash College. I called on my peers in the class of 2017 to go forth into their communities with a focus on fighting past the politics and ideologies so prevalent in our nation, and serve as solution oriented listeners and change-makers.
I quoted Robert F. Kennedy’s 1966 speech where he said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy, daring those ripples to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” I asked them if they were going to use their intellect, privilege, and unique opportunity at this point in history, to be the ripples of hope Kennedy speaks of.
My call to action for you is similar. Create ripples in your community that look to solve our most pressing problems by bringing people together to fight for what is good, just, and helps the most people. Divisions politically at a national level do not have to trickle down to our city. And while many of us will differ ideologically, enriching the lives of our people, promoting productive public discourse, and working for peace and prosperity in our communities shall always be non-partisan and worthy endeavors for all of us.
I am hoping to begin making my ripples immediately. Professionally, hunger and food security in Central Indiana are my primary fight. But redistricting efforts, workforce development, and reforming the Republican Party are also areas I most zealously advocate. What are your issues? What will be your legacy left on this city? It is a city with a whole lot of promise and success, but one with pressing problems that can only be solved with citizen driven advocacy from people like you with the collaboration and inclusion of your neighbors.
All of us have the one or two things we are most passionate about in our community. Undoubtedly, some will disagree with our positions and our efforts to change. But these disagreements can be disarmed when community members engage with each other and fight for solutions and progress. We must all continue to generate our ripples of change so that tidal waves are created that can break down the walls that divide us and build up the community that unites us.