Today, about 35 local and regional organizations, foundations, companies and banks came together to support and actively engage the City of East Cleveland in its strategy for revitalization and transformation. No, not three, but 35. It began with an extremely simple concept, but often hard to do. We asked. We invited individuals to attend. We asked for engagement and questions. We asked for people to envision new partnerships, not based on previous relationships, but new ones. We invited individuals in a personal way to participate in a discussion.
I am not implying that "asking" by itself, is a remedy or endpoint. I think it is a constant and often gets over shadowed by the need to get the results, and not as a primary method of authentic networks, and allowing potential partners to respond in a manner that allows for dialogue, shared points of view, and connection/collaboration.
Also, I am not arguing that asking can itself turnaround our nation's cities, but far too often, government operates without asking, without invitations, and just does. Whether in a cloak room or boardroom, under the glare of lights or behind closed doors, creating new visions for our region, demand asking, questions, challenging points of view, and ensuring that, as we create new democratic networks, that the people participate and lead. There is just no other way.