What Are You Willing to Fight For?

Which of the following do you think makes a community desirable?

  • Low crime
  • Excellent schools
  • Health care
  • Parks and recreational opportunities
  • Libraries
  • Lack of pollution
  • Good housing
  • A diversity of jobs and a lack of unemployment
  • The ability to take care of all its citizens, especially the most vulnerable

Our current local, state and federal budgets mean that everything is being put under financial scrutiny. We have to make difficult decisions and ask ourselves—what are we willing to give up, what are we willing to pay more for, what are we going to demand our legislatures fund, what are we willing to roll up our sleeves and help with?

We must all understand that we pay for these things with our taxes and if we want all of them to be good—we are going to pay more or be forced to eliminate something else.  Thirty students in a classroom means less funding for education, more crime means there are fewer police officers  on the street, the broken swing in your neighborhood park, the one you go to everyday, is not being fixed because  funding for parks and open spaces is disappearing.

I don’t know about you, but my inbox is now constantly filled with requests to sign petitions or call my senator to do something so that a cause I care about (and sometimes ones that I don’t) won’t disappear.  How do you prioritize—what petitions are willing to sign, when will you actually pick up the phone, when will you write a check, and when will you plan the demonstration?

My husband and I both work in fields that are under attack—Parks and Libraries.  Can you really have a great place to live without parks and libraries?  You would think that we would be on the front line fighting for funding for these essential services.  Yes, we do sign petitions and put out flyers, but it is our family that we save the real fight for.

For us, if funding for children and adults with special needs is threatened then our entire way of life is threatened regardless of how livable the city might be. Without a nurse and special education services, my husband would need to quit his job to take care of our son.  Without funding for residential programs, where will Samuel live when we are too old to care of him?  So the decision has been made for us.

What we have to fight for is funding for disabilities.  Therefore, we will spend money, write letters, call our senators, volunteer, demonstrate; we will do anything to keep this funding intact. This is our fight!

What are you willing to fight for?  What service or amenity don’t you want to live without? If it is parks, playgrounds, and open spaces you are going to fight for, please visit the National Association of Parks and Recreation Advocacy Center or find the organization in your own community that is working to save parks—and yes, they deserved to be saved and yes, they are under great attack.

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