This story starts in 2011, when a very proactive, newly-elected alderman, Alderman Ameya Pawar, commissioned me to help establish block clubs in his ward. We agreed that the process should be organic. The answer was to publish, not instructions on how to create what the alderman wanted, but a manual on how the community could create what the community wanted.
Years later, in 2016, I released an update to the block club manual, a 2nd edition.
Soon, online visitors began to download this second edition. I noticed it climb the search engine rankings.
And then I noticed this:
After the national struggles, dialogue, and debates– after the community hardships that made the local news over the past year– it was after those days that the block club manual was most downloaded.
In the days following the especially hard and difficult to comprehend events, I noticed google rank changes as people seemed to search for ways to get involved, contribute, and help make their communities stronger.
I am always honored when searchers land on my website and download the block club manual 2nd edition.
I am also humbled in knowing that I did the easy part. Those who download it, they are doing the hard part.
But most of all, I am reminded of one simple truth that I find proven over and over again.
There are some among us that seem to react to the challenges of community-adversity with the hope of community-opportunity.
Knowing that at least some of us hold on to hope is enough for me to do the same.
It is with that thought that I will enter 2017.
So, thank you, and have a happy new year.