My thanks to our resilient, caring community

As I write to you, I can’t pretend this is a normal year. 

Right now everything—our daily lives and our care for our community—is filtered through the lens of the dramatic experiences of the last two years. We’ve lost friends and neighbors, colleagues and family members, and all of it amidst the overwhelming mental and emotional fog that comes with challenge and tragedy. 

We’re impatient to get back to all those things that we have missed so dearly and look forward to experiencing again in the months ahead, whether that’s the simple pleasure of sitting down with friends after a long day, or the chance to bask in the glow of a performance at the 40 Watt Club or the Classic Center. 

But despite the weight of this time, and the sense of dislocation, I am continually impressed with the Athens community’s support of each other that allows us to move forward together. Forward through this pandemic, forward through the need for racial justice, forward for our children and loved ones, and to demonstrate to ourselves that we can do this. Because as we wake up each and every day, we demonstrate that we can confront all the challenges that lay ahead, including the challenges that were here before the particulars of this last two years. 

I want to offer my deepest thanks to everyone who has contributed of your time or labor or financial resources in recent years, whether it is to feed others, to care for children when their parents had to go to work and you were their only option, to those of you who have assisted in keeping our neighbors housed, and to all who continue to advocate for fair treatment of all. Please know that your efforts are part of the self perpetuating engine that allows us to be the loving community that draws people here and keeps people here. 

The path we will follow together is one in which residents are well housed, healthy, educated, well compensated, building wealth, and enjoying the natural beauty, rich culture and camaraderie of this community that has so deeply enriched my life here for more than twenty-five years.  

The broad approach to policy that I have consistently promoted for success in Athens is one of connection, in which economic, social and resource connections are created and enhanced for all community members. None of the issue areas discussed on this website exist in isolation; they all are mutually supportive.