Thursday, January 22, 2009

Community and crisis

We watched in focused amazement the story of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 last Thursday.

Thanks to the heroic efforts and obvious skill of pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III and a host of rescue workers and cooperative passengers, everyone escaped the crash landing in the middle of the narrow Hudson River just west of Manhattan.

What a story!

Everything went right. Everyone rose to the occassion. The crisis of the moment drew perfect strangers together in quick, decisive, seemingly closely coordinated and effective action.

Everyone lives when most could have died.

Crisis fast-forwards the creation of community. Community finds a way to save life, even when it requires a miracle.

This is an event and a moment to be cherished, even enjoyed, celebrated.

It also provides a bit of a challenge to folks concerned about community renewal and re-development. Obviously, things don't always move quite so quickly in a community crisis. At times of violence or natural disaster, they can. And, in those moments of life and death, people often respond heroically and sacrificially.

But in the everyday moments, we don't typically step up so effectively.

Reframing our understanding of the current crisis facing communities in the inner city neighborhoods of cities like Dallas, Texas is essential to any progress, improvement or the saving of lives.

The crisis is real.

Name the sector.


Health and wellness.


Employment--opportunties, training and wages.

Criminal justice.

Economic development.


If we learn to actually recognize and face the crisis together, might we unite more quickly, less selfishly, more effectively and more heroically?

Captain Sullenberger, his crew, his passengers and everyone who witnessed and responded so quickly to the crash have me thinking.


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