I really didn't have as much time as I usually do to prepare. The Mayor of Indianapolis: Joe Hogsett, was going to give his annual 'State of the City' address so I knew the audience would be above average.
On the morning it was due I sat staring at a blank screen and wondered what to say. Then I remembered the 'Moment of Reflection' I gave on Primary Day on 2016 and the emphasis I placed on 'shared hope.' Not much has changed in that regard - it may be worse with our current president's new tax policy driving a bigger wedge between the prosperity of rich and poor Americans.
Here is what I said:
Shared Hope for Indianapolis
About two years ago I gave the invocation on Primary Day. Elections should be hope-filled events I asserted.
The Gallup Organization polls more than just political fortunes. Every year they survey over 700,000 American students to measure their level of hope. You won’t be surprised that the results of their 2017 poll aren’t good.
As with the past three years, Gallup reported that fewer than half of students are hopeful about their future. How do hopeless children embrace the challenges of a new economy? They don’t.
Hopeful students are nearly three times as likely to say they get good grades. That means the rest are stuck with average or poor grades – and worse low self esteem. What impact will that have on our employment pipeline for jobs that increasingly demand lifelong learning? Not good.
Two years ago I spoke from this podium:
More than losing our status in the world, more than ‘losing,’ more than the other party winning the White House, we should fear the loss of shared hope. Shared hope is the binding that once tied our country together, forged a powerful nation and was the source of our prosperity.
What gives kids hope? What turns a student into a stakeholder?
Everyone is this room has assets that tens of thousands of youth in our community lack: the skills to add value to a company, a cause or a community. It is a bargain that society makes with the next generation: bring us your skills and we will reward you with a seat at the table, a piece of the action, the right to expect to make a decent living for yourself and your family.
Mayor Hogsett is helping bend the curve of low expectations for thousands of these ‘Opportunity’ youth in Indianapolis. As Rotarians, our Service Above Self motto demands that we help him.
If you run a company plug into Project Indy and share job experiences. If you have skills, share them with Job Ready Indy, the new badging program developed by EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber. Or you can support Indy Achieves which aims to help kids into and through college or start a career with a high value credential.
In 2016 I asked you to be an actor not an audience member. Hope is a source of strength that is multiplied when shared.
Help fulfill one tenant of the Rotary International mission: the alleviation of poverty, by sharing your hope in the future of Indianapolis and the prosperity of its citizens.