Avoid the Rubber Band Effect and Help the Community Grow

July 21, 2014


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Econ Avenue has rolled along strong for more than a year now. My very first meeting in northeast Kansas City, Kan., was in June 2013. I went into a new community with a new idea. That idea was based on a belief that folks from the community, who care about the community, can come together and work to change the community. After a year of working with you, I still believe that. The only difference is now I see it as well as believe it.

One of the great quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says:
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

As we continue to move forward, practicing the three core philosophies of Econ Avenue, which are unity, grassroots economic development and strong partnerships, we must remain focused. Because change is challenging and forces us to think differently, create different relationships and do different things, we often want to revert.  By revert I mean the following:

The way we "were" is constantly trying to pull us away from "where we want to be."  I call this the rubber band effect. When we work to change our relationships and how we do things for the positive, oftentimes there comes a point where, like a rubber band, we feel pulled to go back to the old, nonproductive ways.

In general, our communities  are used to not working together. We have been used to competing against each other for funds, not trusting each other and not working with a unified voice. We have changed that model in Econ Ave. Now we work together, create common projects, share a common vision and promote a common philosophy. This has been, like a rubber band, a stretch for us. We have to make sure that we keep pulling together and not go back to the same ways of acting that have led to the current conditions. We have to keep pulling and keep stretching ourselves until we achieve what we set out to do, wholesale positive economic and community change in northeast KCK. We will do it!