First, apologies to the communication committee for not giving a heads up regarding this post or the opportunity to edit.

For me, it was important to have an impulsive start to the new year with a different kind of task. I’m letting Asana sleep in today.

So I’ve elected to forgo emails this morning and instead wax-poetically about us solely from my personal perspective. So, here’s hoping that the indulgence isn’t too off putting.

Let’s start by acknowledging that the fuzzy mass that is our immediate community and the even more ambiguous suburbs that extend through Academy Pittsburgh and Allentown is not a monolith of agenda or heart.

There is an underlying hope that binds us. 

Our gaggle of activists, rebels, bards, charmers, antagonists, creators and educators pretty uniformly believe that all people should be allowed to contribute culturally and economically. Nobody should have to slog through someone else’s day-job to survive. Everyone should be able to pursue their natural talents and inclinations.

Our individual agendas need to be balanced against the recognition that alone the change in our immediate world will be small and easily ignored. Our continued collaboration not only empowers our individual efforts but creates a heavy stick to swing at the old systems that are very good at being very bad.

I fully acknowledge that trusting collaboration is no easy task when framed against the backdrop of our continued growth and persistent financial challenges. But, together we have already done a great deal of good. Most of us are better off today than we were just a year ago. And for me, the effect we’ve had on key regional conversations at the highest levels regarding equity, entrepreneurship, access to ongoing education, and the need for new systems is worthy of pride and celebration.

So I am ready to work and motivated by our past success.

I hope my efforts will inspire you to continue to find common ground in our community and belief in our shared mission.

I hope that your work is made easier, bigger, and gets the acknowledgement it deserves through our collective action. 

I hope that we can be a model for others to create systems that protect economically and invigorate culturally.

Best Regards,

Chair of the EC

Pictured: Maddi and Matt collaborate in a sweater at the 2019 holiday party. Photo: B. Conway.