Community and Representation

I write this as a resident of Lake City, a previous and founding member of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and as project manager for the Build Lake City Together initiative.

As a resident and someone who cares deeply about our community, I know that representation is earned and that the work to examine intent versus impact should always be top of mind.

My white privilege has kept me comfortable and complacent at times over the years when I should have spoken up. Recent issues that demonstrate a lack of cultural competency and a true disconnect with community have cut deep and have challenged me to reflect on my own experiences. Standing with our Black, Indigenous, People of Color neighbors must be at the heart of our work as community members.

We have an incredible opportunity in Lake City, but those who are leading the work must be committed to anti-racism. Maintaining our goals and aspirations without truly engaging the community is not acceptable. Again, intent versus impact.

Recent actions by Lake City Neighborhood Alliance (LCNA) leadership have challenged me. When we started the group one of our primary goals was to help ensure that the few did not speak for our growing and richly diverse community. It saddens me to say that the organizational leadership has come to mirror what we set out to change. When individuals purport to represent the whole community and have the ear of City staff, elected officials and other organizations, we as a community must hold them accountable. Inclusivity, equity, and commitment to our marginalized communities must be at the heart of community work. We failed our marginalized neighbors by allowing these positions of power to go unchecked for so long. We can and will do better. I can and will do better.

I write this not to shame people or to lift my own ego in seeking accountability. I am committed to anti-racism and ensuring authentic and earned representation for our community.

Great challenges are ahead to keep our neighborhood vibrant and relevant. We must work together and share values around social justice to continue to improve the lives for all who live and work in our neighborhood.”

Chris Leverson – proud Lake Cityzen