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2015 is Fast Approaching

by Patricia Zoder

March 8,2009

Time is one of our most precious commodities. It is, in effect, a non-renewable resource. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle finding time for everything he or she needs or wants to do in a busy day. Where in the world do we find the time to even think about our future?

The clock keeps ticking, and you can easily lose connections to people and issues that were once important to you. Perhaps you never made connections to neighbors, co-workers or community groups, leaving you feeling isolated and removed.

Yet, in the face of these daily time pressures, I have chosen to devote my professional life to helping this community think past the demands of today, to think about its tomorrow and act to shape our future.

Why? To answer that question, I must take you back in time to the small town in Tennessee where I grew up - it is hard to imagine a less diverse community. Home was very different than the Charlotte I love and choose to live in now. The sameness in my Tennessee hometown was truly all-encompassing and suffocating. The citizenry was exclusively white. Christianity was the only represented religion, unless you drove over an hour to a larger city. There was no political diversity. There were few if any openly gay community members. Even the economy was centered around one business segment.

What it did have was what many small towns have – citizens who were strongly woven together, who cared about each other and their community’s collective future. It is this sense of connectedness that I hope to strengthen in Charlotte.

I believe Charlotteans deeply care about our community and our future, but how do we continue to come together when our explosive growth isn’t necessarily creating connections between us, especially across lines of difference like race, ethnicity, culture, political views, income, religious beliefs, sexuality?

I believe Charlotte is at a crossroads, faced with a myriad of choices as our population grows larger and more diverse. From this crossroads, the choices we make and actions we take today will create our tomorrow…and we don’t have time to waste.

Where and how do we begin? I’d like to offer one option: Crossroads Charlotte.

Crossroads Charlotte presents four plausible stories about Charlotte's future and asks people and organizations to experience and respond to the stories in their own way. In short, it’s a chance to help create the tomorrow that you want to see.

Now is the time to join in because 2015 is fast approaching. All across Charlotte-Mecklenburg, organizations, institutions and people are connecting with each other and acting in their own way to steer the community towards a positive future. I invite you to come and find ways you would like to help shape our tomorrow by doing one of four things:

1) Visit our website at to learn more about Crossroads Charlotte and experience the four scenarios. You can also connect with people who want to talk about how today’s events will shape our tomorrow and find groups who are doing remarkable work in our community.

2) Share the Crossroads Charlotte stories and have a discussion with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues through the Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie DVD (available by request to Crossroads Charlotte) or through the website.

3) Request a facilitated conversation with your group or organization of 25 people or more. The sessions are designed to provide an overview of Crossroads and provide an opportunity for interaction and conversation. We have trained facilitators who can come to you with the Crossroads experience and help your group craft a way to act.

4) Attend a Conversations @ the Crossroads session. These are interactive community sessions that allows you an opportunity to discuss relevant community issues related to the four Crossroads stories. Our next Conversations @ the Crossroads will be on March 24th and April 16th from 6-7:30 PM.

I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold. The only two things I can say definitively about our collective future is that time will keep ticking and doing nothing – at this time, for this community – will yield nothing.

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