Wednesday, April 01, 2015

An Investment Option

People constitute our community's greatest asset by far. 

All kinds of people, including those many of us seldom remember or seriously consider.

Recently, I sat in a small group of social scientists concerned about poverty and overcoming it.  The group discussed various interventions to knock it down/out, strategies for measuring its depth and intensity and various approaches to data collection and interpretation.  One of the main concerns involved developing a "narrative" for educating the entire community about the prevalence of a social reality that saps our strength as a city and a region. 

As we talked, it hit me. 

We need new recognition skills.

Dallas must recognize the wealth, the beauty, the skills, the intelligence and the power resident in low-income communities--the very communities that on the one hand cause us to wring our hands in anxiety and on the other remain great unmined repositories of amazing social capital and survival strategies.

With accurate recognition of value, we should begin to expect adequate investment, and even some cases of "over investment" or remedial investment to make up for time lost in our social blindness and  heedless stupor. 

Consider children for a moment. 

Every dollar invested in the life and future of any child carries with it the promise of surprising return on investment (ROI). 

Maybe we need an IPO on the future of our children, if coupled with a sound and generous investment strategy in their lives. 

Failure to invest in the education of all of our children is short-sighted and negligent by definition. 

Failure to care for the wellness of our children sets a course for suicidal economic realties a generation or less from now.

Failure to create living wage jobs results in economic disincentives that discourage and dissuade commitment to creativity and hard work. 

Failure to draw our children into fully participating members of our democracy opens corridors leading to social unrest.

Those neighborhoods of Dallas, about which we concerned ourselves in my group meeting, need to be served by a robust investment strategy that results in progress, full-participation and generous portions of hope and opportunity. 

We can't wait any longer.  The time for delay passed us long ago.

This is our time, a time to invest while expecting amazing returns because the product and enterprise attracting our attention turn out to be our neighbors and their children, as well as us and ours.

We're all in this together expecting an amazing ROI! 

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