Rebirth of the Kansas City spirit
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The Kansas City Spirit. 1951 painting by Norman Rockwell & John Atherton
Rockwell's "Gift to the City"
An open letter,
From the Kansas City community,
Written from a wellness perspective,
And kindly addressed to:
- KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas; and
- KCMO Health Department Director Rex Archer, M.D.; and
- all policy leaders in the greater KC metro area
Thank you. You are all working so hard to slow the spread of CV, and to that goal you have done that as much as you possibly could- lockdown modes, requiring extra safety precautions, putting in policies to try and physically slow the virus. You took it very seriously, no one will ever doubt that, and did so because we know you care so much to want to do the right thing. We can only imagine how hard it is to make those decisions knowing how many lives they are going to affect.
We are working hard too, and we have also done as much as we can to slow the spread in our lives. We have also done as much as we can to make a living so we and our families can go farther towards surviving the environment we continue to choose to operate in. We all work hard to keep up with all the new regulations and Orders/Mandates while living our lives and providing for our needs. We have observed, we have adapted, stayed creative, made hard decisions, and put faith towards brighter days being just around the corner. So please do not feel like you have to bear the full burden- we want to help you. We have requests that we are asking you to consider, with the same expectation of thoroughness that you are asking of us in our way of life. We believe you would benefit by engaging with us through assured confidence that future policy decisions are inclusively aligned with your community.
We cordially request a response by March 31st.
- We request an advisory committee be formed by April 15th, with representatives from various industries as well as the Kansas City citizen community, to gather together 3-5 times with the goals of community collaboration of information, perspectives, and suggestions that can be used to provide well-rounded knowledge to our community, provide guiding principles for the near and long term path ahead, and ideally provide you a more measured impact assessment when considering future policy decisions. These meetings would consist of moderated dialogues rooted in civility and empathetic listening, seeking common ground and simplified and defined short and long term milestones/goals, which are so critically important right now to both financially plan our lives and emotionally inspire us from a mental health perspective for the days, weeks, and months ahead. The output out of those meetings would then be publicly presented by Memorial Day.
- We request future policy focuses more on improving one's health and the collective health of our entire community, by publicly acknowledging and addressing all the unintentional negative consequences of your positive intentioned policies towards protecting us against a single particular health issue. Certain policies have potential to cause more collective community harm than they do collective community safety. We request that there are other metrics added to your consideration when forming policies in order to provide a more holistic set of “risks to the community”.
- We request more information on why this is being positioned as a rare 100 year event, as just the last 20 years there have been many new viruses circulating our planet? How can we enhance our local economies to become more sustainable and risk adverse to future catastrophic events? We are concerned about future occurrences of new viruses in our community, and long-term impact on all levels: health, economic, social, psychological, etc.
We are almost a year into this and have all learned a lot, therefore we can constructively analyze the impact it has had on us. Our slogans and hashtags are telling us to stay home, our daily dialogue is telling us to be more sedentary, and our choices are having downstream consequences of closed businesses and lost jobs or reduced hours, elimination or reduction in paychecks, financial hardship, and all types of insecurities. (A UN report said 10,000 children A MONTH are dying due to starvation and malnutrition caused by the downstream economic impact of our global collective CV choices.) All of this has increased depression, anxiety, addiction, missed medical care appointments, opioid overdoses, suicides, and psychological mental health issues- especially in children. Pushing a sedentary lifestyle makes it no surprise that weight gain is up- which we all know is a comorbidity for CV deaths. Along with sedentary lifestyles, amplified voices telling people to stay home leads to greater rates of child & domestic abuse in those cases where someone’s home is actually not the safest place they can be. All of these impacts are “cases” and “deaths” too, and need to be brought to the forefront and heavily weighted in policy decisions. This is a health crisis, so through all our efforts over the past year, are we healthier than we were a year ago? Are our immune systems stronger? Beyond what can we do to prevent ourselves from getting infected…we should be caring just as much about strengthening our body and boosting our immune system so that in the likely event in our lifetimes that we eventually get the virus (either naturally or via vaccine), that we minimize the negative impact it will have on us.
We know from history that new viruses usually level out after 2 winter seasons, and the airwaves say that the vaccine is being considered our big changing point. With vaccines arriving in our area, this turning point is in sight, so we should also have in sight how and when we can successfully open our city back up? We know our community better than anyone, what we've been through, and what we're capable of. Working together towards achieving city wide milestones will healthily improve our mental outlook on the situation, help us budget our finances more strategically, and strengthen the bond that is the great gathering of Kansas City. Establishing clearly defined goals would trigger a collective burst of energy as we would all know what we need to do to reach those goals, and of course we all want to reach goals that get us out to the other side of this. Each of our collective choices determine the world that emerges around us. We are all active participants in the future that emerges- no one is a passive witness. Working together will allow us to come out of this stronger, and if done right, Kansas City can become a leader into a bright and sustainable future, and position ourselves strategically & globally at the forefront of the right side of history.
In 2015, KC’s Chief Innovation Officer said KC wanted to be the “smartest city on planet earth within five years”. Well, we can't become the smartest city if we do not work together to become informed and practice discernment to innovate and create at the highest level of mindfulness. Collaboration will make us more energized. Just like we were after 9/11- by immediately showing our determination to not let the terrorists beat us. Or after the atomic era was introduced- we stayed determined to set course and live life without always thinking about the worst case scenario. Or most notably and proudly, here in Kansas City, when we came together on a similar monumental task of rebuilding after the bad flood of 1951. Norman Rockwell was commissioned to paint a picture to inspire the people, and produced his masterpiece titled the Kansas City Spirit - symbolizing Kansas City’s way of tackling challenges with humbled courage and optimistic energy.
Do all those historical moments sound familiar? Where is that spirit today?
That spirit is still here, and call on anyone with that same spirit to simply add their name to this petition in support of that mission. (there is also a Business Owner version HERE). Our moment is now. We are asking our local policy leaders to work with us to be the best, the smartest, the most courageous. Let’s come at it from a wellness mindset, something we can generally all agree on, and that is easy to understand. Every good conversation starts with good listening. Please listen to us, as we have listened to you.
Please accept this letter in pure good faith and positive collaborative tone that it was written, and do not seek any repercussions on us citizens who sign in support. We know that government is a necessary foundation to a civilized society, we want you serving as our government, and we recognize and are grateful that you acted swiftly to protect our community. However we are at a different point now than we were a year ago. We have learned a lot and know much about the landscape that is ahead of us, so let us work together in close partnership to plan for the year ahead, and best provide you with the consent of the governed in order to generate momentum.
This outbreak is turning corners. Let's unite. Let us breathe again into life a new Kansas City spirit. :)
With respect and partnership, and ultimate care towards the holistic health of all of us in our community....
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