If You had Been Here My City Would Not have Died

It is easy to overstate even a great truth or be too dramatic when it comes to the ideals and people that one holds dear. But I feel nothing short of the urgency that Mary felt waiting for Jesus to show up and save her only brother from death. You may not be Christian but many have heard the bible story about Mary’s Brother Lazarus dying while waiting for Jesus to arrive and heal him. In her grief and frustration Mary reprimanded Jesus once he arrived because Lazarus was already dead and buried.  Mary said simply, “If you had been here my Brother would not have died!”

Of course, most people know how the story ends with Lazarus being brought back from the dead and everything ends well. But most miss the importance of Mary’s accusatory statement. First, her statement was a declaration of her belief that he had the power to do anything; even control life and death.  And if he had used his power, which she was certain he had, the outcome would have been totally different. Second, Mary was acknowledging that even with that power Jesus’ timing was terrible.

 You can have all the power in the world but there are times when its simply too late and the dye has been cast.

 We are at the critical juncture in this modern American city called Baltimore. In this moment we will embrace and use our power which is both obvious and plentiful or wait too long to act, losing more than we can possibly imagine. This year a seminal moment, a Lazarus moment if you will, has been graciously given to us to save our city by using our dormant power to resurrect the life of Baltimore.

As ambassadors and the leaders we must Amplify Baltimore. We must be present for the once in a lifetime opportunity that Civic Frame has labored to birth in this city. Imagine that in a modern American city with all of the modern American problems and opportunities, we have four days this year to get together as a community to share solutions and strategies for building a better Baltimore.  We do not have to imagine this because unlike any other major city in America, such an opportunity exists right now in Baltimore.

The question is,” Are we going to Amplify Baltimore?”  As community leaders, political leaders, business leaders, regular citizens, and ambassadors of this faithful movement, are we going to do all we can to bring together the people of Baltimore and empower them to be agents of change in our community?

On January 8th there were three powerful two hour community conversations that illuminated our demographics and city plan, need for political literacy, and our philosophical approach to public safety.  In a room filled with the people of Baltimore from all walks of life Civic Frame held the space for an unusually transparent and vibrate set of civic dialogues. While a number key leaders and activists were present, many were not.

While Amplify Baltimore’s maiden voyage was by all accounts a success it would have been emboldened and empowered by those who were noticeably absent :The city council , the mayor and mayoral staff, community associations of Baltimore’s neighborhoods, Baltimore Development Corp, the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce,  Associated Black, Catholic, and Jewish Charities, Presidents Roundtable members, Pastors of congregations large and small. Major media, Television, Radio, and print mostly failed to cover an event with some of the most important members of the city talking through solutions and opportunities.  And chiefly many citizens of Baltimore were absent from a discussion that requires their much needed input.

Their presence would have indicated a public commitment to the working with the citizens of Baltimore to charting the future of the city.

Hundreds of people who love Baltimore were there and many members of major organizations made an appearance. In fact most of the community members, regular citizens, business people, and educators who were there stayed all day and brought their children as well. People of every strip and silo in Baltimore have stepped up to support this effort but now it is time to support by showing up and being a part of the conversation.

We have eight hours four times this year to be present for our city and really put forth the best that we have to make a critical difference.  The world is watching, the citizens are watching, the state is watching, different cultures are watching to see if the people of Baltimore can come together now that the city has been pushed to the brink.

Our secret formula for creating a great city is getting the leaders and the people all on the same page and involved in what happens in the city. The list of who we don’t need to be a part of this conversation is very short but the list of who needs to be there for this to work is huge. We cannot fail to be present.

Ambassadors we need you to be at every sessions of Amplify Baltimore. It’s 8 hours per quarter this year and it means the world that you not only send your well wishes but also your financial contributions and your presence. We give money to so many organizations that don’t come close to living up to their mission and we accept their non results everyday in the name of supporting Charity and non profit organizations.

Panelist , Speakers and Host we need you not only there for your panel and sessions but we need you there for all the other topics and sessions because you are a vital member of the community and your presence speaks volumes as to how seriously you take your role in this city.  Staying to participate illustrates how much you support your fellow citizens and their effort to Amplify and improve Baltimore. When you come only to speak on your panel and then leave it says you are not really here to be a total part of the community conversation. We have to build a healthy community that has respect for itself and all of its’ members ideas and intentions, and we need to do this now.

When the mayor and mayoral candidates are absent from the political literacy and public safety conversation it makes one wonder if they really understand the job they are seeking and how crucial those roles are. The police commissioner and fire chief need to see their mayor in the audience as they articulate their visions for the city.

How can we have these conversations without each of you? How can we have any conversation without all of you?

Citizens, community organizers, association leaders you will be the main dissenters if your views are not taken into consideration before policies are set. You must be there for every minute of this forum. This is the only forum of its kind in the country and Baltimore is going to be the model for community building in the country but the question is will you be a part of the mosaic that is being painted.

This moment reminds me of the classic picture of the main players in the Harlem Renaissance. I am sure there are a number of important people missing from that picture. They missed a date with immortality because they had another engagement that day. How could they know that that day was going to set a moment in history? The truth is they should have known!  Whenever that much power gathers in the same place for a common concern the universe conspires to elevate the meaning of the moment and it becomes a defining moment.

 Amplify Baltimore is that moment in this city. Change your schedule to be there all day for the next three quarterly sessions.  We need your commitment to the life of the city.

Please don’t fail your city. Don’t let it be said that ,“if you had been their your city would not have died.”

Mark Fuller

Manager of Wealth

Amplify Baltimore  Ambassador

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