I learned yesterday that the city in which I live ranks in the top 5 cities in the nation for the most violent. Not a distinction that was actively pursued, nor one that will be heralded in the promotional materials for the city. However, also not a surprise. We live here and are accustomed to the violence.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Since we are used to the violence, we tend to forget that every place isn’t like this. So the ranking did come as a surprise simply because, for all of the places that you might imagine are the most violent, odds are, we surpassed them. That is shocking.
Growing up in rural Nebraska, never did I imagine that I would ever live in a city with this distinction. However, I also didn’t imagine myself being married to such an adventurer, a visionary, a man committed to social justice, and a man in love with the urban setting. We moved here 6 years ago to use this urban setting as a backdrop to experiment with unique ways of bringing people together, and to see how much more can be accomplished with collaboration as opposed to isolation.
So how do you alleviate social injustices and calm the violence in a city? I can only tell you what we are attempting to accomplish. We own (using the word “own” very loosely, because we are in partnership with another great guy, and the business tends to own us sometimes…) a business that brings entrepreneurs and non-profit directors together in a co-working environment, with the vision that collaboration will occur as people work in close proximity to each other.
In our little microcosm of the city, it is doing just that. It astounds me that people who are used to working by themselves, and in an American culture that tends to hold their ideas and products close to their chests, these innovators willingly share their inspirations and enthusiastically collaborate with others on their ideas. Daily, people who are the tops in their field sit down with others in completely unrelated ventures to brainstorm, dream, problem-solve, and contribute into each other’s interests.
It is kind of like how church should be. And my husband, who was a pastor for 15+ years, is completely in his element.
Anyway, our joy is to see that these visionaries, with passion for social change and great innovations to implement these changes, are landing their ideas in the city and are making movement towards social transformation.
Obviously, it is a slow process, but I truly believe that we are doing our little part in influencing those who will eventually influence the city that we love.
And for those of you who were considering coming to visit us, don’t let this news deter you! With God’s protection and grace, we are completely safe and are making great headway towards peace and reconciliation! 🙂