wjlanier's Blog

Husband, father, lawyer, pastor, teacher, encourager, empowerer, founder

Great Lakes Urban Empowerment (“GLUE”)

This is a project I have been working on an visualizing for over a decade . . . .

The Great Lakes Urban Empowerment Center (GLUE”) is a nonpartisan, urban solutions center committed to empowering urban cities of the Great Lakes area by increasing citizen engagement in the political process, facilitating effective policy and project solutions, and developing a comprehensive, connected network of people and institutions committed to urban empowerment.

Why GLUE?  Great Lakes urban cities, particularly Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffaloare struggling. The confluence of deindustrialization, hyper-segregation, entrenched poverty, joblessness, struggling public school systems, declining revenue sharing and other challenges leave many of these  cities in crisis or near-crisis situations.  Furthermore, in many of these cities, some its most vibrant talent is leaving.  Albert Einstein said “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”   The “brain-drain” – home grown, college graduates leaving home for other cities – often deprives the cities of some of the best young minds; minds equipped and trained to seek innovative solutions and to attack these problems with new kinds of thinking.  We need creative, collaborative, innovative and effective solutions.  GLUE will be a provider of those solutions.

In cities and across the country, there are people and institutions who are passionate about our cities and who are committed to finding and implementing solutions.  And, innovative solutions do exist.  The challenge is that often these people, organizations and their innovations – all passionate and committed to urban empowerment – are scattered.  They are scattered geographically, scattered across disciplines.  They are even scattered across lines of class and race.  The wisdom of the Hebrew Bible advises “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  In other words, operating separately yields limited results but there is power in collaboration.  When we connect and collaborate, the synergies can yield phenomenal and amplified results; one plus one can equal three.  GLUE will facilitate some of these synergies.  Appropriately given its name, one of GLUE’s core abilities is to connect people, organizations and solutions in the battle to transform our cities.

HowGLUE activities will focus on three (3) areas.  It will be a Connector of people, institutions and resources.  Along with its partners, GLUE will be a Conduit for information and solutions.  Finally, GLUE will be a Catalyst for projects and policies.  GLUE will evaluate its success by monitoring the following five (5) metrics:  Partnerships secured, People engaged, Publications issued, Policies effected, and Projects facilitated.

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