As New Year's Day Comes to a Close...Vision!
January 1, 2013
Dear Friends and Colleagues.
As New Year’s Day and the 2012 winter holiday season comes to a close, I hope that you have found adequate time to relax and enjoy your friends and families.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time visiting family and friends on the East Coast. I am actually sitting here in a reclining chair at my brother-in-law’s house taking stock of my experiences over the last several days while the children are all upstairs talking into the wee hours of the night. We have several children in the Peyton-Caire-Wyche families ages 4 to 19 all packed into two rooms. They love each other so much, and so enjoy each other’s company that having elbow room while they sleep doesn’t matter to them. I am sure when I go up there to check on them before I close my eyes, I will see the legs of the littlest ones draped across the necks and backs of their older siblings and cousins. It’s a beautiful thing to see – brings a smile to my face writing about it.
It’s these experiences with family and friends, along with our drive through the hills and mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia, our self-guided tour of Virginia State University (one of Virginia’s three Historically Black Colleges and Universities), our visit to historic places that define the history of U.S. and African American history, and new and exciting information about ancestors on my grandfather’s side of the family that we’ve researched that have inspired and re-energized us. In a couple of days, we will visit with good friends in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia as we make our way back to Madison. We’re excited about seeing and catching up with everyone, and swapping stories about our respective experiences over the last 18 months since we saw each other.
It’s times and experiences like these that remind me of what’s most important and why in 2005 I almost gave up a life dedicated to advocacy to spend more quality time with family, friends and loved ones. Getting to know people outside of work – outside of the suits, ties, uniforms, reservations and masks we sometimes wear while we are on the clock – is something that I’ve always looked forward to the most. It is also something that can be difficult to do when so much of our time is spent working and meeting in group settings while trying to balance the busy nature of a family of seven at the same time.
So, as we move into 2013, I am dedicating more of my time to the things that inspire me. In doing so, I hope that I will have more opportunities to get to know you better. I plan to spend the bulk of my work-time in 2013 helping the Greater Madison area construct a vision for itself while our Urban League team works to expand job opportunities for adults and youth, improve the educational outcomes of young people and cultivate managerial and executive talent for other nonprofits, businesses and government agencies in town. To the contrary, I plan to spend my personal time getting back in tip-top shape, enjoying the outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and having as much fun as possible. I hope that our paths cross and that we find the words and deeds to inspire each other when we meet.
I also plan to spend as much time as possible working to strive through and overcome the political tensions that have gripped our region and state almost the entire time that my family and I have been back in Madison. Things have been so polarizing and uninspiring of late that everyone in our household spends very little time watching the news (or television), and spend more time speed-reading the local and national newspapers and periodicals. I believe if we can come together to focus on establishing an inclusive, forward-thinking and compelling vision for our region, it will provide us the road-map we need to come together for the common good of everyone.
Right now, I couldn’t tell you what the vision is for our Capital City, Region or State if you offered me $1M to do so. Can you? Do you know what the common vision? I keep asking people and no one can seem to tell me what it is, not even our leaders…but I am very excited to work on figuring it out.
Again, I hope to get to know you better personally as we engage in conversation about a vision for or region, and how the children, adults and families that live among us will benefit from the vision and participate in it.
Until we see each other, I wish you and your families a very happy and prosperous 2013.
Strengthening the Bridge Between Education and Work
President & CEO
Urban League of Greater Madison