The Belonging Revolution goes to torn neighborhoods in Longmont CO

POST BY Dan Benavidez

With all the negative, stressful and oh so very depressing things I see in the media and all the bad that is going on in our world I sometimes want to go hide my head in the sand! But then I go on a walk with Mike and oh my! I just know it’s going to be okay.

Mike recommended that we walk the two neighborhoods that experienced the tragedies over the last several days - so we did. We thought these neighborhoods were in need of healing so we wanted to immerse ourselves in their midst. We talked to people in both neighborhoods.

We could see that people were feeling anxiety and fear when we initially started our conversations. But the more we talked, the more people became themselves and started to open up and became friendly with laughter and feelings of warmth and kindness. Long conversations with a few people gave us insight into their sense of loss in their neighborhood. A few said we needed to focus more on the mental illness issues in our community. These walks, more than any others, left Mike and I believing we need our 'Belonging Revolution' more than ever.

Mike's perspective - We felt a different kind of emotion today. Given that we walked the neighborhoods that suffered from the two tragedies that is no surprise. I felt a sense of reverence for people who lived close to these incidents. I wanted to hug each of them and to let them know it is going to be ok. They are part of our community and to hear their pain was truly a sacred experience for me. I could not shake the feeling of a little sadness as they spoke of a tear in their neighborhood fabric. This is my community and one that I love. To sense and feel their loss greatly enhanced my belief that our belonging revolution is so necessary.

Like Mike said and I concur this is also my community which I love dearly and that I am ever so lucky to live in. More and more I realize from all our walks and talks with our neighbors that it is time for a “Belonging Revolution” And I will do all I can to help Mike to continue to make happen a “Belonging Revolution”.

Yes! I will help make a community that that no matter your color, race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, or position in the power structure that we know and feel that we all “BELONG”

Thank you,

Dan Benavidez

Dan Benavidez is a long time Longmont resident who has served his community in many capacities. From Mayor Pro-temp to board member of Teaching Peace, Eco-Cycle and many other organizations he has represented the Latino community with heart and commitment. These days Dan is literally walking his talk about building strong, cohesive communities by walking Longmont neighborhoods with Director of Public Safety, Mike Butler as they venture to begin “The Belonging Revolution”. Mike has served Longmont for two decades as Chief of Police and now Director of Public Safety. He makes a habit of engaging innovative strategies for connecting “public” and “safety”. His latest innovation is to be an ambassador for Belonging in Longmont. The city’s slogan is, “You belong in Longmont”, and these two are bringing that notion to life. Dan has been capturing notes and sharing them after each walk.

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