Stir It Up
I have been a bit discouraged lately -- a steady diet of CNN will do that to you. The Iraq War rages on, the Virginia Tech tragedy shocks our souls, the emerging foreclosure crisis threatens millions of hard-working homeowners, and the scarcity of good-paying jobs leaves millions more Americans out of the housing market altogether. It is not an encouraging time.
But then I logged onto DMIBlog. Reading through the posts, I felt an odd stirring. It was a familiar, but distant, feeling -- something I had not felt in a while. Finally, I recognized it-- the soft tug of hope.
It is inspiring to see so many folks ready, willing and eager to fight for equality and equity for all Americans. The Step It Up 2007 Initiative brought thousands together in solidarity for global warming legislation. The Facing Race conference drew hundreds to New York to tackle head-on some of our most entrenched racial justice challenges. Florida advocates pushed Gov. Charlie Crist to call for re-enfranchisement of one of the largest felon populations in the nation. Local efforts across the country have sprung up to counter the devastating impacts of the foreclosure crisis.
From Albuquerque to Atlanta, from Bangor to Biloxi, local leaders have consistently been the best source for innovative and effective solutions to our most pressing social needs. At PolicyLink, we strive to lift up what works from the wisdom, voice, and experience of those local communities. As a national organization, we help community leaders access the research and planning resources that can connect families to true economic and social opportunities. Our vision of a truly equitable nation is filled with diverse and essential mile-markers -- from better housing on the Gulf Coast to more fresh foods in corner stores to more efficient public transit that connects low-income folks who need jobs to the places that have jobs.
But those successes are not possible without solid leadership, rooted in and accountable to local communities. The folks I have been reading on DMIBlog are the ones who can help lead this vital national movement to create neighborhoods where families of all incomes would want to live -- communities with quality schools, safe streets, affordable housing, and quality transit that connects people to economic and social opportunity.
My colleagues at PolicyLink and I are honored and excited to be a new cog in this DMIBlog community. In the coming weeks and months, we will be back with some ideas on how smart public policy can create a more equitable nation. Together, I know we can stir some hope across America.