Rebuilding our Community
By Dr. Andrew Calhoun, Ed.D. Special for the Milwaukee Times
The beautification that one sees or seeks in any neighborhood all began with an idea or dream of what was possible. Given the time to grow, develop and to mature to its full potential only further ensures that great ideas occur when people shared the vision. The transformation that transpires reflects the common belief that change is possible and is required to keep things moving forward for the next generation.
Transformation is when there is a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. It is also known as metamorphosis. In realistic and clear terms, when people work together in the community and are compassionate about making something positive happen…change always materializes. It is taking the present situation or moment as it exists…envisioning the future…and setting plans in motion to make it come to life.
A game changer
In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays the role as Ray Kinsella, a novice farmer who is struggling to pay the bills of the farm and to keep his family going, hears a voice while walking in the midst of his cornfield, that says, “if you build it, he will come!” As the plot of the story begins to emerge, he builds a baseball field in the midst of the corn field and soon some infamous baseball players from the 1919 Black Sox scandal emerge from the surrounding corn field to play on the ball field.
At the beginning, only a few people are able to see these players. However, by the end of the movie, countless number of people come to the baseball field, can see the players and watch the game. Because of his faith, perseverance and belief in making it happen, Ray is able to not only save his farm, but also restore the hopes and dreams of so many others. One of the key lines in the movie came from another character, Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham of the 1922 New York Giants, played by Burt Lancaster. He only played in one game, but never got a chance to bat in that game… he said later, “We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days.’ I didn’t realize that was the only day.”
Now is the time
Likewise, some of the most significant moments for urban neighborhoods are today. It is a time for change, for tomorrow is never promised. Change always affects people, where they live, work and play… change is about life and making the best of what you have to work with. It is about the unending process… and it moves on regardless of one’s stature or status in life.
Urban America is in need of game changers, people who want, can and do make things happen, regardless of scale or size. They are optimistic about a neighborhood future regardless of the odds. Their can-do and get-it-done attitude in the face of unbelievable odds, misfortune and adversity is what sets them apart. They enjoy taking on challenges and taking “lemons” and making some “lemonade.” These are transformative leaders, dreamers, and visionaries. They see what is possible and do not care who gets the credit as long as the results are realized.
All great cities that are actively engaged with its residents in building great neighborhoods invest in their people for positive change and growth. A true change to believe in and a change that is worthwhile and sustainable.
So while we are at it … let’s tear up some old attitudes, break down some walls of indifferent, remove barriers to collaboration and start building new communities of inspiration, hope and prosperity. So… I say, “Let’s build it! Our urban neighborhoods of dreams and see who comes!” For feedback you can contact Dr. Calhoun at email: andrewiiicalhoun@ gmail.com, Facebook, twitter: AC53, http://whatdoesitlooklike. blogspot.com/ or 414-571-5015.