It was snowing and cold this last Saturday when Mike sent me a message saying I looked up the weather on Sunday and it looks as if it will warm up so what say we do our neighborhood walk? I thought Oh my! How dedicated and how for sure Mike is into our belonging revolution! My gosh even when it’s snowing like gang busters outside he is still looking to see if the weather even if it is marginal will be okay for us to do a neighborhood walk I mean how good is that! I sat there and marveled at how magnificent it is to have someone like Mike who cares, really cares about our Community who really is about starting a “Belonging Revolution”!!
On our walk this last Sunday we met with older people, younger people and people from various backgrounds and cultures. We walked a neighborhood in Northeast Longmont that consisted mainly of rental housing. And while it was barely forty degrees, we met a number of people who were out and about.
And how fulfilling it was to meet and talk with Marcus who told us he was 21 years old and loved Longmont and that he was applying this week for a job with Eco Cycle and how he smiled big time when I told him I was an Eco Cycle Board member. And after our experience with the lady who told us there were way to many Mexicans in our town how pleasant it was to talk with Manuel who is a native of Longmont and Latino and it made me feel of so good when Mike asked him if he ever felt discriminated against and if he felt he belonged in Longmont? He said yes! I feel I belong and then empathetically said “no! I have never been discriminated against that Longmont was his town and said again that Yes! He felt he belonged. After our walk I came home and although I am redundant in saying this how great I felt! How absolutely blessed I am to live in Longmont, Colorado! And how blessed we the citizens of Longmont are to have caring people like Mike, our Mayor, our City Council members, our City manager and many other high level officials who go right down in the neighborhoods to meet and talk with us this because they truly care about us!
For our second walk in a row, we met people who were fearful and full of trepidation and anxiousness. One woman expressed her deep, emotional concern about Muslims in our community and said that they were here to kill us. She also thought we had way too many Mexicans in our town. She made this comment in Dan's presence knowing he is Latino. Dan, being the class act he is, just listened with tolerance and understanding. Because she is a senior and talked about some of her basic needs, Dan suggested she contact Boulder County Care Connect for assistance with transportation and for help to shovel her walk. Dan gave her his personal phone number. In a very connecting moment, she felt sincere gratitude and reached out to shake Dan's hand. As I said, Dan is a class act - he placed the needs of this woman above his concerns for her intolerance. That is the kind of love we need to bridge the differences amongst and between us. I asked him afterwards how that felt and Dan said it hurt but that is why he believes we need our Belonging Revolution as it has the amazing capacity to heal and connect all of us!
Thank you, Dan Benavidez