Arizona’s Possibilities

Arizona FlagLast night, one of our Immersion Course grads – the ever brilliant Alison Rapping – posted this at Facebook:

Imagine what would be possible if we took all of the energy being put into SB1070 and invested it in building civic engagement, energizing our economy, creating innovative new industries, and enhancing our sense of Arizona pride?

This wonderful imagining does not have to be a pipe dream. As my partner, Dimitri, has always said, “We all make everything up. Everything around us was made up by someone, at some point.” And what that means is that we can create a different path. We can make it up now. Our state – our home – does not have to be this way.

Creating the future we want requires just 3 steps:

  1. Identify the future we want (not the future we “don’t want – the problems to solve – but the future we DO want)
  2. Identify the pre-conditions to that desired future – the immediate pre-cursor conditions to reverse engineer that future. And then the pre-cursor conditions to those conditions. And so on.  We will reverse engineer the future we want until actionable steps appear as first steps along the path.
  3. Take those actions!

From the discussion that ensued at Alison’s post, I offered to bring that conversation here, so we could explore it together.  I am happy to facilitate this conversation because I don’t see this as an intellectual exercise but the first steps in our taking back our state.  Because this is my home. And I’m tired of tweeting 140 characters repeating the phrase, “I don’t want to live here anymore.”

So if you live in Arizona, let’s dive into Step 1.  What would Arizona look like if it were the place you would want to grow up, raise kids, grow old?

What would Arizona look like if it were a healthy, vibrant, resilient, humane place to love for…

• a child?
• a teenager?
• a young adult / someone of college-age?
• a mom / dad raising a family?
• a working person?
• a business owner?
• a retired person?
• an elderly person?
• a healthy person and a sick person?
• a new immigrant to our state / country?
• and everyone else?

What would the Arizona of our dreams look like for all of us?

2 Responses to Arizona’s Possibilities

  1. Most readers will be far more informed than I am, but thought I’d share some initial thoughts anyway. From my perspective, the Arizona we would strive for would like like:
    – Children: Would have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential in school. Not an expert on education, but I do know of one organization that can simply, easily and cost effectively advance our education by making sure children can SEE through vision screenings (how can children learn if they can’t see?), VisionQuest 20/20.
    – Adults: More high paying job options and education opportunities (how is that in-state tuition at ASU is over $30k/year?)
    – Elderly: Available services would enable seniors to stay in their homes longer with affordable home care options. Whereas elderly are less inclined to support higher property taxes, perhaps if a portion of services were paid for with property taxes, we could garner more support for higher property taxes that would enable us to improve education (one of the big barriers for new employers coming to AZ). Perhaps there are other options, but it seems we need to envision Arizona’s revenue stream with far less reliance than it has historically had on developers, i.e. DIVERSIFY.
    New Immigrants (children of): Could benefit from school-based programming designed to help schools and teachers communicate (through translaters) about the need for parental support/involvement as a key indicator of their child’s success, receive the diversity training they need to learn differentiated teaching methods, offer summer school programs that would enable children to ‘catch up’. One of the biggest trends in education throughout our country is greater diversity in classrooms – cost effective programming is available and can be developed to meet our unique needs. This investment would have key quality of life and education systems implications.

    Finally, it seems that the majority of people in government today do not understand the concept of a balanced budget. I would urge this group to include ‘finance’ on the ‘agenda’. Sent in the spirit of hoping to be somewhat useful in jump-starting the conversation. If not us, then who? Alison, you are great for posing the question that started this – THANK you!

  2. Hildy,
    Thanks for bringing this home to explore creating Arizona’s future. I look forward to engaging fellow Arizona’s in stepping into our future…
    I want to live in an Arizona where everything begins with civility. I want to live in an Arizona where we invest in our future, and apply wise planning in the allocation of resources we have in all of our communities. I see a place where we all promote our connectedness and a spirit of cooperation that brings out the best in everyone. I see a place where diversity is embraced and people of all ages, colors, abilities, talents are welcome and embraced. I see leaders who share a vision that encourages us to reach for our potential, and engages us all in contributing wherever we are needed, generating a positive spirit of all we can accomplish together. I see neighbors coming together to plant, nurture and harvest gardens, build parks and support community systems that promote our active engagement with one another. I see neighbors lending a hand to one another because we all strive to be part of a vibrant neighborhood. I see neighborhoods working together to support connections that allow us to share many creative pursuits. I see communities where bike paths and walking paths are everywhere and public transportation systems support people moving between communities to promote healthy exchange of ideas, goods and livelihood. I see people connected and committed to wise stewardship of our environment, and a commitment to appropriate use of sustainable energy. I see a state where partnership between business, government, community benefit organizations and citizens is a way of operating. Where creative processes are in place to assess emerging challenges and entities commit to contributing the resources needed to take care things. We’re all in this together!