Monday, January 08, 2007

Non-Profits...

Today has been busy. I have been working on the paper review for an important journal, I did a telephone interview with a job candidate and I had a meeting this evening.

One of the things I do in my (astonishing small amount of) free time is try and help my community. One of the things I do in support of this is sit on the Boards of a couple of non-profit organisations. I have also been elected and appointed to a couple of civic committees and organisations.

The area I live in has an amazingly complex and rich history. It is in one of the oldest areas in town. Historically, it has been largely populated by African-Americans, although it has also had a tradition of being both ethnically and economically mixed. This history stretches back until before the Civil War.

Sometime ago, some developers came to town with the idea of building a large apartment complex. My neighbors and I were not to thrilled at the prospect and we organised against the proposal. Ultimately, we lost, but that often happens in small town politics, when big money is involved. We did get some reasonable concessions out of the developers though, in terms of cash to try an preserve our history.

Initially, I felt a little odd about the situation. After all, I am neither African-American, nor even originally from this part of the world. When I talked to my neighbours about this concern, they laughed at me. Apparently, they were happy to have someone from the area who was willing to do the leg work. They did not care about my race.

The reason for mentioning this is that I have been looking at some blogs that claim to have an interest in matters of race. All that seems to happen on these blogs is a lot of talk. I believe in action. In another post, I had some of my neighbours look at these blogs and they were appalled.

However, today an interesting confluence of my interests arose. Late this month, one of the non-profits I am on the Board of is organizing a cultural event. It turns out that this event will celebrate both traditions from New Orleans and the history of my neighbourhood. I believe that this is a wonderful thing. I will be volunteering during the event, playing an important role making sure that the logistics work out correctly. The really great part about it is that I will be working with a gentleman who is a walking repository of the history of my neighbourhood. This is the kind of unexpected benefit of volunteering. It is so much more tangible than the benefits gained by blogging. So, I urge you to think about trying a bit of volunteering. I also suggest that those who like to pontificate on their blogs would also find their time much better spent actually doing something in the real world, rather than engaging in solipsistic dialogue.

The CP

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