Dear Fellow Citizens,

No seriously… I’ve waited a long time to use this salutation!  Some of you know that I was born in Bath, England and that I also lived in Montreal Canada before coming to Rochester where I’ve lived for the last 50 years.  But not many of you know that on Friday, October 23rd, I was finally naturalized as a United States citizen after a complicated 3½ year process due to lost records and expired documentation.  The day finally arrived, and none too soon, because I just made the cut off to register to vote (the deadline was Saturday, October 24), and that I did, on the very same day!  The journey was long, but oh so worth it, because I’ve never wanted to vote as badly as I did for the 2020 elections.

This year, 2020, has tested our country’s resolve, our moral character, and our ability to persevere during a pandemic, with racial strife and in the midst of economic trouble.  These challenges, magnified at the national and state levels, are manifested and evidenced in our local community by increases in COVID infections, evictions and unemployment rates.  Yet, we have hope and believe that equitable opportunities are possible by active participation in the democratic process, as well as with the collective and active engagement of our greater community.  Even though inequitable outcomes in this moment are the reality, we have hope that a change is possible. And right on cue to affirm this very real possibility, the results from election week are proof positive that indeed, a change is on its way.

This month, ROC the Future will launch our 8th Annual State of Our Children event, a week-long virtual event featuring our parents, education leaders, awards and a special keynote from Jennifer Blatz, the CEO and leader of StriveTogether, our national network.  The title for this year is aptly, Equity & Education:  The Next Horizon.  The next horizon, a perspective Regent Wade Norwood helped to clarify for us earlier this year.  Our next horizon is the eventual outcome, place and space in the future – the 3rd horizon – that we’re preparing for, all while creating and making change in our current environment (2nd horizon), as we transition from the old (1st  horizon).   If COVID has taught us nothing else, it is that although we are clearly in the 2nd horizon, the next horizon is already upon us, for we will never return to what was.  As our children and scholars are impacted by the ever-increasing digital divide, social disconnectedness and limited access to necessary supports, we can no longer act in ways that support the old ways of solving problems and changing the way we do business.  We must change, and we must do so now.

Join us as we share how are children and scholars are doing and share our plans for strategizing and planning for the third horizon, not just for the few, but for all entire citizenry, and all who are here.  This year, equity, and racial equity in particular is the 3rd horizon we are striving for.  We will learn together, lift together and dream and plan together.

We are excited, for indeed, a change is coming!

For the Children,

Citizen Campbell