Next week, Thanksgiving celebrations will take place across the U.S., just as they did across Canada several weeks ago. Though the holiday has been observed for many years, now more than ever, it is being reexamined to understand the truth and reconcile how history has shaped the context of our society. We must continue to embrace this work.
This year’s holiday, rather yet a “season of thanks,” coincides with a hope that the pandemic is becoming endemic. The hope is that we will be less burdened in the future as we focus on creating more complete communities for all. Nevertheless, it remains a season for reflection and the opportunity to remember the positive. As such, I share some of the positives I remain thankful for:
- Our dedicated members and their tireless efforts over the past two years to support their districts, families and friends while navigating turbulent waters of uncertainty and change.
- The IDA volunteer leadership and incredible staff team for their unwavering guidance, willingness to reimagine member services and dedication to never-ending support of our members.
- The hundreds of IDA thought leaders and corporate supporters who generously shared emerging knowledge and insights over an unending series of webinars and whose continuing financial support enabled IDA to focus on serving the members.
- All the Emerging Leader Fellows, from 2016 through 2021, who continue investing in their abilities, are stepping up to the challenge and taking on new roles to help guide a future path for our industry and our communities.
- To the Tampa Downtown Partnership team who waited two years to host an annual conference, and delivered an outstanding program displaying their incredible city building progress made over the recent decade.
- And to all the members able to attend the Annual Conference & Marketplace in-person (98% of whom were fully vaccinated) to resurrect the IDA human experience and witness the power of community as we begin to embrace and navigate the endemic future together. It only fell short because not everyone was able to attend.
There are many things to be thankful for amidst the hardships that impacted our communities, families and our own lives. Through it all, I am grateful for a clear awareness of the systemic injustices and inequities and how they have taken center stage to become the main priority for building complete communities moving forward. There is much work to be done, and I have always known IDA members have the vision, voice and agency to impact the future. You are inspired leaders helping to shape cities for all, and I am thankful you remain dedicated to this mission.