Hope beneath the surface

Christine Mayer \
December 21, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, many of us will do what we do at the end of every year: we will pause, reflect, recall the highs and lows, and perhaps try to extract a lesson or two. My prediction is that this exercise might be more challenging than usual this year! It has been such an outlier. Consider the tenor and tone of our public discourse, the knock-down drag-out presidential campaign, and the ever-evolving transition to a new phase of our democracy. So much change, so much uncertainty, so much emotion – many of us just want to close the books on 2016 and push forward to something different in 2017.

And yet, for me at least, there is something I can only describe as hope that lies just beneath the surface. I don’t deny for a minute that our community has extraordinary needs and that many of us carry genuine concern about what happens next.

At the same time, there is nothing like dramatic change to awaken every person to what she values most and how she can best contribute to the big picture.

I have seen in our home community of Akron abundant evidence of goodness, daily examples of people and organizations caring deeply for the good of the whole, real commitment of energy and resources to the improvement of entire community. I see it in our local government, with leadership from Mayor Dan Horrigan and County Executive Ilene Shapiro. I see it in local institutions that cover the waterfront. Most importantly, I see it in the individuals I encounter every day who are asking what they can do, what role they can play in making our community a welcoming, compassionate, prosperous place for everyone.

It’s as if every person realizes more deeply than before that their behavior matters, that their personal choices in all of their interactions send a message, that they have the power to be a part of the solution.

More will be revealed in 2017 for sure. But as we discover that together, I’d urge each and every person to reject the instinct of feeling powerless, and instead to embrace the power we all have to make our world the kind of place we want it to be. In Akron, Ohio I like our chances.

All the best,
Christine Amer Mayer


Header photo: Akron Public Schools students at Magical Theatre Company by Shane Wynn for GAR Foundation