The joyful mosaic nearby the historic Charles Brown House in Downtown Tucson challenges all of us to reclaim our own definition of civic engagement. How do you actively participate in your city? How are you Tucson, too?
Immersion is a key word. It’s not just a matter of visiting a gallery opening or frequenting a restaurant (although supporting local economies is critical). Civic engagement should go beyond the monthly meeting and become a life process. For me, this translates into my writing and work with folklife — my way of contributing to society by celebrating civic entrepreneurs, reporting on the history, artists, nature or the economics of what is sustainable and local, and documenting our community sense of place that creates the unique fabric that is Tucson.
How are you a community-builder? Examine your actions every day for your answer. Relationships – how you partner with people or new ideas around you determines how you combine efforts to make our world a better place. How you join with others defines true civic stewardship.
My thanks to Ben’s Bells, a wonderful organization that not only constructed the mosaic, “I am Tucson,” (with me pictured above), but also works outside conventional compartments of community engagement. Jeannette (Ben’s Bell’s founder) is an inspiration of kindness, engagement and stewardship.