We are having a hard time right now in the Forest City. There’s a strike at Electro Motive Diesel, Unemployment is around 10%, and there are some 3500 people per month needing to use the London Food Bank. So what are we to do? Our Mayor, Joe Fontana, gave a speech on the state of the city and we got a song about London being the city of opportunity. Doesn’t feel like that right now though.
And while we could collectively shrug our shoulders and sigh there are people in London who are trying to create change, are agitating against the common belief that there is nothing we can do, and are trying to create a more meaningful community. People like Abe Oudshoorn who is ringing the bell on homelessness, companies like rtraction, Echidna Solutions , Orpheum Web Hosting, and so many of those in our local unions who give back to the community again and again.
Then there’s the group I have been working with over the last few months, the Citizens Panel. Born out of a want to engage and a request through Glen Pearson by the City to engage other citizens, we are trying to create meaningful dialogue and change around the questions of social assistance and how we support those in our community who are the most disadvantaged. You can come and talk to us and your fellow citizens about this on January 29th 2012 @ 1 pm. At the Convention Centre..
We have groups like Pillar, The United Way, Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, The Food Bank, The Sisters of St.Joeseph, London Community Foundation, and my new place of employment Emerging Leaders, where people can get involved and add to the discussion and work of who we are and where we are going in concrete ways. Yet still this is not enough.
Shakespeare said through the lines of Hamlet “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals”. Powerful words those. They speak of “our better angels”. And right now we need those qualities to be put to use in London. To be applied to questions of economics, wellbeing, and the commitment to how and where we live.
So many of you, and yes me to, don’t show up and don’t engage when those better angels we all have speak to us and ask us too. Times are tough and are likely to remain tough for some time to come and that is why now is the very best of times to look around you and ask where can I add my voice? Where can I contribute my time and labour? Where can I offer some of what I have to those that might need it, be that financial, spiritual, or emotional?
We have so much potential here in London but it is only realized through our combined efforts towards a common goal of community and caring. In order for that to happen we need you .We need you on the line at EMD, or volunteering in your neighbourhood, or asking questions and sharing your opinions with our leaders, or on the 29th at the convention centre. Add your industry to those mentioned above and join in on what may be the beginning of what may be the best opportunity we have.