Valentine’s Day has passed, and the cold winds of February linger. Winter is tough, a Pandemic Winter feels unbearable. It’s maybe a moment to reassess, reframe, not only to look inward but to look outside of ourselves to think of the year ahead and how we can be a better, stronger, and more resilient community. The reason why I say this is that the essence of community starts with each one of us and how we connect and interact. It is the ripple effects of good acts that have the most potent strength and ability to create purpose and change. This year, although we have been truly challenged, has brought out some of the most remarkable responses that speak of the human spirit. When that happens, our community grows in the best ways possible.
This month we celebrate Black History. It’s a moment to honor the exceptional contributions of so many African Americans in our nation. I think though, there’s more than a look back at leaders, heroes, advocates, and visionaries. This is the very moment to be looking at what we have now, where we’re going, and what the future looks like as far as race in our country and our community. Sadly, it took acts of violence to revisit this dialogue and so much has become partisan and political and this we need to put aside if we are to make any progress. Progress and change begin with the very simple act of listening and understanding that the world view is through many lenses and not just our own. As we have seen, it can bring out things that are disquieting and uncomfortable but intrinsically important. Warwick is no stranger to facing difficult issues. It always comes back to how we work through it together. If anything, this year has given us a more resolute understanding of empathy, the power of working towards meaningful goals and doing this by sharing and learning from each other.
So, let us celebrate the African American men and women who have shattered ceilings, broken barriers, and have set us on the right course. To me, that is just the beginning. It’s our continued actions as a country, community, and individuals to clearly recognize systemic racism in every form and to remove those barriers that will lead us to a truly just America.