Longmont City Council Person, Gabe Santos, joined us Sunday as we strolled through what Mike called a challenging neighborhood on the West side of Longmont. Mike says public safety has to focus on this neighborhood because of some of the social issues that are present. Our Belonging Revolution revealed itself in all of its colors and flavors during our two hour walk Sunday morning. We met with 20-25 people. We were so blessed to have Gabe walk with us. People we spoke with were very drawn to Gabe and could sense he truly cared about them. He was so engaging and so friendly. And even though Gabe is an elected official in our community, one would have never known it as he talked with people in the context of one community citizen to another. WOW!
Our Belonging Revolution is truly restorative for our community. Sunday’s walk was a perfect example. Those we connected with just seemed emotionally and spiritually hungry to talk with us about their neighborhood and our community! It seemed like with every contact, people immediately placed aside what they were doing, or turned their car ignition off, or stopped their yard maintenance or prolonged their travel to the Bronco game and wanted to connect with us. We have said often that isolation and disconnectedness seems to be a condition of modern living. During our Sunday walk, EVERYONE just seemed eager to meet with and to tell us their story. They wanted to belong; they seemed to want to viscerally connect; they were remarkably appreciative that we were there to listen to them. And for us, it felt so good to be there for them in this moment in time. As we have said often, our Belonging Revolution is such a spiritual and life-giving experience for us. It just feels good to be with people in their “hood” and to be a listening ear and heart for people we do not know. The quality of aliveness of our conversations with people was so apparent. And again, we obtained several names of people who want to leverage their sense of belonging to help with identifying and framing new possibilities of who can be as a community!
Steve was just coming back from church and was just so gracious with his comments about his neighborhood and about our community! He expressed some thoughts about the cutting of school programs.
Toni and Joseph love their neighborhood and were so excited to talk with us. They expressed some concerns with some car break-ins. Toni wants to be more involved with our community and awaits our invitation.
Becky and Jack were out walking with some friends from Grand Junction. After an extended conversation, Becky asked me to assist her with a dialogue at Longs Peak Middle School, matter of fact she followed up with a written request the same day of our walk. Oh my! I really feel like I belong when people want me to help. Thank you!
Macy Shishido loves Longmont but he is somewhat concerned that entitlement could be creeping in to our culture. Macy could not stop talking about his views of the world and wants to be invited to our upcoming community conversations.
Franciso, his daughter and Dale were so excited to talk, they delayed their trip to the Bronco football game. They really wanted to be able to give us their perspective. Just a beautiful connection.
Felipe was a delightful man and while he could only speak Spanish, he spoke unreservedly about his love for Longmont and how he feels blessed to live here.
Ezra was just coming home with his two daughters. His youngest daughter (maybe three years old) entertained us all with her comments about her father. She initially said she hated her father and then came back out of the house and apologized and told her dad how much she loved him. It was sweet to see their father/daughter dynamic in the moment.
Jeff has lived in the neighborhood for 26 years and just loves it. He is very interested in being more involved in upcoming community conversations.
And then we met David – from Peru. David was so engaging and was excited to talk to us about the Peruvian culture that exists in Longmont. Great stories!
Thank you very much Council Member Santos for accompanying Chief Butler and me on our walk!
From Longmont City Council Member Gabe Santos.
Dan: What you and Mike are doing every Sunday is fantastic. Thank you both for allowing me to join you for the walk. Although we were concerned about the cool weather and the drizzle of rain, I was impressed by that everyone we approached wanted to talk with us. We heard about education, traffic, growth of the city, and about NextLight.
Those residents seem to know and watch out for one another. I was also impressed how everyone expressed interest in being contacted for continual dialogue on various issues.
I encourage other members of Council to join you both on a regular basis. I will contact you soon about a date that might work for me to join the both of you again.
Mike's idea of getting Fire and Police departments to walk neighborhood is also a great idea. These days there is a distrust of law enforcement and I firmly believe this will dismiss that notion.
These neighborhood walks are renewing the idea of "community". By that I mean, getting to know your neighbors, community leaders, and law enforcement on a personal level. Neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street & individual to individual you both cultivating the Our Belonging Revolution. I THANK YOU!