Building Public Will. Changing the Future.

Today I attended the UIC Urban Forum: Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow and was actively Tweeting quotes until my phone battery went low. I took about 5 pages of notes, which I’ll draw from in future articles.

During the last of three panel discussions I created the sketch below.

I’ll put this on Power  Point and add some color, but the box at the left represents the vast wealth that has been created over the past few decades and is in the hands of less than 1% of people in the world. The panel discussions from today, and much of what I write about on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog, focuses on the negative results of this “wealth-creation” and calls on people with this wealth to be much more proactive in what they do to reduce the negatives they have inflicted upon the world, while creating greater hope, opportunity and well-being for people in the US and other countries.

Unfortunately, as my sketch shows, this is not happening on a voluntary basis, or at great scale, which is why many people call on government to take a role. Except, our political leaders are failing us.

Thus, in 2016 we have Donald Trump…and Bernie Sanders.

As with other events I attend, many of the panel members and attendees are people I’ve met over the past twenty years, but who for what-ever reason, don’t make much of an effort to draw me into their conversations or use the ideas I share in their work (that I know of).  I think Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust rolls his eyes every time he sees me.

For instance, the moderator of the first panel this morning was John McCarron, who wrote the story above in 1995, describing the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I launched in 1993, and which I now continue to lead via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  John also included me in this 1996 article.

Today’s first two panel discussions created a sort of momentum, or volcano of interest, which was topped off by Clarence Page, and his concluding quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” speech, which I found on this web site

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

That was 50 years ago! While much has changed, there is still too much to be dissatisfied about.

I created this graphic in the 1990s and have used it often. It illustrates how each one of us needs to be “dissatisfied” with the wrongs in the world, and how we need to be reaching out to try to engage other people in efforts to overcome those wrongs.

In this graphic the circle represents the information available on the Internet, and in many libraries, that groups of people can read, discuss, debate and use to innovate ways they can use their time, talent and dollars, to help kids move through school and into jobs, in one of the high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago, which show on the map at the right side of this graphic.

Clarence Page talked about how “We tend to be kind of crisis oriented in our society”. As he did I recalled how I used this 1996 article to illustrate that problem.

I spent 17 years creating retail advertising for the Montgomery Ward Corporate Headquarters in Chicago. We spent over $250 million dollars a  year (in the 1980s) using weekly adversiting to tell 20 million people, in 40 states, that we had stores near them, with merchandise they were looking for….AND…..this week it’s on SALE!

What will it take to motivate leaders to create on-going advertising type campaigns that draw more and more people to information they can use to become solutions to the problems we face?

As one person responded to me, “Where’s the profit?”   

I created concept maps like this to try to show the “profit” gained by strategic investment by business in youth tutor/mentor programs.

I’ve attended forums like today’s for over 20 years. I’ve been on the Internet since 1996 and in one section of my library I share links to web sites talking about innovation, creativity, collaboration, network building, mapping, etc.

Articles that I point to show ways people who attend events like today’s can be connecting with each other after the event and digging deeper into the ideas shared, while learning and innovating ways to build the “public will” needed to create the world we want and should have, rather than the one the super rich are forcing us to live in.

In another two sub sections of the library I point to a set of blogs where the writers talk about learning and cMOOCs which show ways organizers of events might be connecting participants to each other in on-line communities where they engage, share ideas, learn new ideas, and put into practice the type of learning we hope young people bring into their adult lives. 
Another set of links points to articles about poverty, social justice, housing, etc.  
I recognized a long time ago that I am an inadequate teacher, unable to fully communicate the ideas I find from others. Thus, I try to point people who are inspired by speakers like the panel members in today’s UIC Urban Forum, to visit web sites that  I point to, where much more talented and knowledgeable writers than I, can help them understand issues and ways to respond.
For instance, I’ve had a link to this paper by Dr. James Heckman, another panel member at today’s forum, in my web library since the mid 2000s.
If others are looking at these articles, or attended events like today’s forums, they might be able to communicate the “Where’s the Profit?” response to business leaders and the wealthy better than I do.
My goal is that organizers not only build on-line interaction into the design of their events, but that they also build an evaluation process that creates maps showing where participants come from and what skills/network they represent. From year-to-year such maps should show repeat participation and greater engagement….if the goal is building public will to find solutions to complex problems like poverty and inequality.

They also might aggregate stories created by event participants and share them, in an effort to help everyone become a blogger, network builder and solution finder.
I’ve posted more than 1000 articles on this blog since 2005 and have more than 2000 links in the web library I host. No one can comprehend all of this if they only spend a few minutes on site. However, if college and high school students, faith group members and business research & development teams spend time on an on-going basis looking at these articles and links I think they will find a wealth of ideas that they can apply to resolve their own “dissatisfaction” with the way the world is structured in 2016.
I hope I can be included in that process.