People’s Liberty

I’m glomming everyone together, but Aurore, Jake, Eric and Megan are all characters in their own regard. They are an important part of not just who I am, but who I strive to be.

In 2016 I became a Fellow at People’s Liberty, a 5-year experiment to rethink community engagement in Cincinnati. As a fellow, I was afforded a budget and an entire year to explore an idea. This manifested itself in a community photo project called PhotoScouting.

I found different enthusiasms in each of these four fine folks during my tenure (and beyond).

From left to right:

Aurore asks “How can I help?” in the most genuine manner—the sort where you know she is going to roll up her sleeves and go above and beyond.

Jake’s sleeves are already rolled up and and he’s curious about the tools you need to not only succeed, but get to the next level. He lights fires and fuels enthusiasm.

Eric is the champion for your cause, with a perspective that goes beyond what is in front of you, and what you might encounter in the future. Part passion, part pragmatic, all heart.

And Megan is demonstrating how to nurture, to let go and to embrace. She supported the cadre of residents that supported the endeavors of the organization and every single project.

Combined? People’s Liberty represented a powerhouse of optimism and action. I’d be remiss not to mention, it was an experiment fueled by Tim, Leslie, Chris, and Chad of the Haile Foundation — visionaries in philanthropy that supported the endeavor.

After the 5-year experiment, Aurore, Jake, Eric and Megan stopped going to work as People’s Liberty proper — but like everyone that passed through those doors or sat around the yellow table, we went back to work with a new sense of our community and an understanding of greater purpose.

The thing I learned most from People’s Liberty? Be active. Engage. Listen. Question things. Offer ideas and help build solutions.

It makes life better. It’s that plain and simple.