If you’ve ever wondered about the kinds of issues that could turn middle to upper class urban moms into raving activists, here’s one for you. Try closing their school operated pools. In one large cosmopolitan city the school board recently determined that it could not afford to continue running it’s school operated pools as those funds were sorely needed elsewhere (like to help vulnerable or gifted kids to learn!).
For the last month leading stories on regional TV, radio and major daily papers have been all about the horror associated with closing these school pools. It took some savvy media relations to monopolize the airwaves and print media with this issue.
I’m not saying they should be closed, but I haven’t seen such activism from this group in a long time. One of the local newspaper columnists (Jim Coyle, Toronto Star) had me rolling with this statement
To hear it told, school pools rank right up there on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – the very wellspring of self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety and security, physiological health.
There must be native groups, anti-poverty, families of kids with special needs, adults needing ESL classes and others of worthy cause who wish they had half the ability and resources to mobilize, twist arms and gain attention.”
What are your thoughts? If a school board was having difficulty meeting the basic needs of operation and determined that the only solution that would avoid damaging the educational quality of its programming was to close school operated pools, would you support the decision?
For me the upside of this story is that moms (and dads) have power – especially when they are organized. Vital urban communities tend to attract and nurture very passionate and articulate parents. It only takes a small group of committed residents to make an issue come alive. Add some experience and media savvy to the mix and you have a community that can shake things up in their favor!
For me, this is why it is so important for troubled urban centers to attract new residents and commercial investment. Without a mix of people who have the experience and skill in making their voices heard, a community is doomed to accept whatever comes its way. Not a helpful notion given these dour economic times.
Stay organized, informed and engaged. Our communities are in our hands.
Go urban/suburban moms!