Happy Fourth of July week, and congratulations to this country and its audacious effort to combine deeply community-minded principles with a strong commitment to individual liberty, and the celebration of both.
As I write this, I’m considering the deeply disturbing shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. Every one of these shootings is a tragedy, in ways that are the same and in other ways that are different.
In this case, especially during this holiday when we celebrate our American freedoms, we should add a concern about the explicit attack on our deeply held commitment to free speech – and to a free press. I’m reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s observation – “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The news media has taken a beating in recent years. It’s not always perfect, but in the pursuit of a more perfect union, we need strong journalism to inform our society, to explain the news, and to present a variety of voices.
And that leads me to a point I deeply believe about the importance of the community foundation. Central to our work is the idea that we are and need to be an umbrella for the wide diversity of people in our communities. If you look at the many types of funds and people and activities with which the DCF is involved, you will find a little bit of everything that Delaware has to offer.
- Rural, urban, suburban
- White, black, Hispanic
- Conservative, liberal, moderate, apolitical
- Male, female
- Gay, straight
- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, non-religious
- Young, and old
And we are an organization – DEDICATED TO A PLACE – where all people are welcome and encouraged and celebrated. And in this strange time on the national political scene, we need organizations like the community foundation to step up and be counted.
We need to learn again how to make it safe for all of us to be part of our community, and how to celebrate our commonalities, understand our differences, and disagree without demonizing others.
I know that this work matters. It’s not easy and there’s no simple solution. But it matters, and it’s a big part of why we’re here.
Thanks for being our partners in this work.
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You can click here to read more of my thoughts on this topic, and my annual year-in-review presentation.