Last weekend I gathered in Boston with hundreds of mayors from around the country to share ideas, learn from experts, and speak in unity on key issues. How energizing it is, especially in these very challenging times, to see tangible evidence of the resilience of our country and our people!
Because you can tell that, in cities large and small, from coast to coast and in between, tens of millions of people are working every day to increase opportunity and justice in their communities—resisting messages of division and bitterness and bigotry and malaise coming from DC or state capitols.
One day’s topics featured climate change, and many of us energetically reaffirmed our commitment to effective action to protect our planet, contrary to our President’s reckless actions and neglect. Another day, the streets of Boston roared as tens of thousands attending the annual PRIDE parade were joined by mayors from all over the country, as we proudly wore rainbow sashes and marched arm in arm in steadfast support for equality and justice.
The new, young mayor of Stockton, California, challenged everyone with their inspiring experiment with Universal Basic Income, providing $500 per month to some of their poorest families – reminding us that our people are our most precious resources. Why do we tolerate the grinding poverty that erodes so many futures?! (This pilot is funded by philanthropy and will share results in the next 18-24 months.)
And then the visiting mayor of Hiroshima, with great dignity and strength, pleaded that no other city on earth should ever again experience what they suffered 73 years ago. We stood in awe and support (and for some of us, tears). Honolulu and Hiroshima, where WWII began and ended between our countries, became each other’s first Sister City, in the 1950s. The Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace now numbers more than 7,000 cities around the globe (including Bloomington), reminding us that we share so much in common, contrary to the false claims of so many demagogues and talking heads.
These are challenging times. The midterm elections approach, when we MUST demonstrate clearly what our country stands for. Never can we lose our values or our mutual commitments to each other. From the birthplace of our nation in Boston, to Bloomington, to hundreds of our cities, millions resist dark messages and nourish hope. Persist in hope. Let’s continue to do our part at home, as we’ve done for 200 years, in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around this great, resilient nation.
Ps: Mark your calendar: Tuesday evening, July 3rd for downtown fireworks! We’re bringing the celebration back downtown and it should be exciting and fun! Followed the next day, July 4th, by the traditional Bloomington Fourth of July parade. And Sunday afternoon, September 9th for the fourth annual Hamilton Family Picnic at Bryan Park, with our fantastic local, state and federal Democratic candidates, music and food, for political momentum building for the critical mid-term elections coming up.