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VOL. 7 | NO. 17 | Saturday, April 19, 2014

Editorial: Memphis Must Make Time for Civic Renewal

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New beginnings are a constant throughout our lives as well as the seasons -- religious, cultural, natural, even sports – that many of us rely on to mark the path those lives take.

One of the more difficult aspects of maintaining a new beginning for so many of us is that it often represents a new way of looking at a world that doesn’t appear to have changed that much or even enough to match the change we are undergoing.

But that’s not what new beginnings are about. They are about a change in outlook and noticing the changes that come and go as a source of hope.

The broader changes that take more time and more seasons are still our commitment.

We suggest that with the word sustainability being used so much in so many civic contexts, this kind of sustainability is the most important to our future as a city.

And it has taken hold in a way that no formal effort at sustainability with charts and graphs could ever take root.

Across Memphis, so many of us are engaged in efforts that have found a way around the trappings of formal change which seems always to need an elaborate agenda and lots of coordination.

And many of us question whether those institutions are really about the kind of dramatic change needed in so many quarters of our city. At times, the speeches announcing “big” changes to come are too laden with names of every organization under the sun that had anything to do with the change.

The change – the renewal – takes a back seat. And the inspiring efforts of large numbers of Memphians get diluted.

Change takes organization to be sure, but organizations are not the purpose of change.

So in this time of year when renewal in some form is all around us, we call for a resurgence of spontaneity in our efforts to make Memphis a better place.

Surprise those who would paint change as a grim task whose only color is the markers used to write obvious ideas on big white sheets of paper on a meeting room wall.

Spontaneity should never be in short supply in Memphis. Neither should the public acts of change that speak directly from one Memphian to another with no middle man.

So in this season of renewal and strengthened resolve, make Memphis yours again and take a good look around at the Memphis that others make their own.

Our belief is you will find a city blooming with a diversity in which we all have so much in common as our differences inspire us to rethink the Memphis we all want.

It’s a pursuit that you don’t need to book a meeting room for or give money to.

Just open your eyes in a season when what is new is in many cases what has returned after a hard winter.

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