Closing the gaps

August 18, 2014

It is hard to believe that in the 21st century that there are still too many “gaps” in our society to count and with each passing day, they continue to get wider, deeper and more dangerous. Many of these “gaps” are historical, generational and systemic. The listing of “gaps” continues to grow especially in terms of gender, education, livable wage employment, affordable housing, quality health care and wealth. In so many ways these identifiable “gaps” are affecting quality of life, community sustainability and our pursuit of the American Dream.
Many of these “gaps” are seen as a phenomenon across the board in many facets of our society and the world. These “gaps” are not just single isolated events, affecting one ethic group, religious faith community or nationality; they are happening way too often and across generations. Some “gaps” are interconnected with other “gaps” and together you cannot address one unless you address the other. Some see these “gaps” as expected outcomes of poor choices, affecting particular racial groups and being trapped in a vicious “cycle or downward spiral.” Others view these “gaps” as a way of life, it’s the “cards” they have been dealt and must make the best of it. Yet others take the view that all people should be afforded an opportunity to rise above their situation or “gaps” in their life.
Remarkably, a report comes out or a research project is completed that clearly shows that “gaps” do exist in every sector and category; regardless of the size of your city, town or community. It’s almost like clockwork, daily, weekly, monthly, or annually, you can expect some response that highlights a particular “gap” in our good old republic. It is also amazing how the study of such “gaps” have become big business itself, including grant writing, community organizing, resource allocation, test pilots, block funding, special projects and initiatives.
It is good to know that there are people, advocates, community leaders, watch groups, and concern citizens who are always on the lookout of how to make things better for those without a voice and to close the “gaps.” From an outside point of view, it appears that what we are experiencing is a “staged reality of expected outcomes” coming from decisions that do not include those affected and in essence help to create additional “gaps.” We have a saying in the community “If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.” This means that if we are serious about closing the “gaps” in our community, we must involve those who are or will be affected by decisions. That’s my view; what is your?

Dr. Andrew Calhoun, Ed.D., can be heard each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church of Milwaukee. You can contact him at, twitter #AC53, Facebook 414-571-5015.