The Arizona Daily Star is doing a terrific job this week, with their in-depth investigation on poverty in Tucson: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/losing-ground-tucson-kids-pay-poverty-s-high-price/article_b79c3c72-bd69-5898-8876-d60bf8045746.html .
I hope that, after this series has been completed, Community Renaissance can collaborate with others in taking some "next steps" in answering the question I pose in the title of this post: How do we building a more prosperous community for all?"
I don't doubt that the majority of us in the Tucson region want more prosperity for ourselves, our families and our neighbors. I really do believe that most people want a better life for everyone, not just themselves. And the stories in the Star are showing how complex issues of poverty are for individuals and families. So there's no easy answer. But, like any problem, if the pieces can be taken in small steps, progress can be made.
When I first came to Tucson in 1971, recently graduated from college in the midwest, I felt at home here because I thought "ah, there are a lot of people like me here, struggling to survive." Tucson has the same, if not worse, reality 42 years later. Yes, choices were made and are still being made and some of the factors (such as our proximity to Phoenix where large external capital investments are often featured in the news) are beyond our control, but I think each of us can do take one more step to help solve this problem.
I have made several community commitments: to assist my neighborhood and HOA as an active member, to weekly volunteer in a TUSD location, to volunteer for the public library and, when possible, to offer Community Renaissance's pro bono program, PECE, to assist with forward-leaning community conversations.
These are my commitments and I am willing to take one step more. What about you? (This is a picture from flickr.com and their "commons"--it's the scene of Huck and Tom fixing up their community by painting a weathered fence.")