Thanks everyone for your well wishes about our personal situation. We'll get through this!
So on the 22nd I went to the Columbia 2.0-sponsored get-together in Harper's Choice. Several impressions:
1. It was my first "up close and personal" with other local bloggers, simply in the context of being fellow bloggers-- I didn't know Dennis was Wordbones and Dave was Hedgehog-- I know they blogged but not which blogs. It's been several months and I'm still so dopey about this stuff. Anyway, Dave, Dennis-- great to meet you and reconnect!
2. Dave Yungmann-- sorry we didn't get the chance to talk. Sometime soon.
3. The dark-haired woman in the cream-colored blouse and gray slacks who was a hostess for the event-- pleasure meeting you, and I swear, my continuously blocking you was accidental!
OK, as to the event itself. In a prior post I recall skepticism over whether or not Columbia 2.0 could mobilize young professionals and younger people in Columbia towards civic affairs. With an attendance of about 60-75 people (my guess), skewing hard towards the late 20s-early 40s, I'd say they are off to a great start! The event was held in a village center and was free, which made it very accessible to all.
I will also say that the "older generations" in Columbia are taking seriously what 2.0 has to say. Several current, former, and should-have-been members of the CA board were in attendance, as well as a sprinkling of local activists and business leaders. I did not notice a lot of minority attendance, though there was some. Still, it was a great show of outreach.
The conversations I heard and participated in ranged from brainstorming about the path Columbia and Howard County must take in challenging financial times, to wholehearted assaults on the orthodoxy of our community's civic life. It was vigorous discussion, but also, not rancorous or negative. It was spirited discussion among friends, although many of the participants were not long-time acquaintances. The conversations I participated in most deeply regarded two issues I care greatly about: ZRA 113 (they are for it) and the effectiveness of civic practices in Columbia (very skeptical). Incidentally, at the event they were taking videos of any attendees who wished to testify on behalf of ZRA 113.
I think the members of 2.0 recognize that civic activism doesn't occur two nights a month-- during resident speakout at the monthly CA board meeting and at the County Council's legislative hearing. Theirs is a voice that is not quite yet at full throat, yet they are finding it and their event last week was a great step towards establishing it. For one, I am glad to see them enter their voice into the fray.