David's Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Calling Us To Community

His message was compelling. It was sincere and heartfelt. He concluded his remarks by calling those of us in attendance to action. He asked us to join him in working to achieve a fairer and safer society by working together in service to our community. Mark Rubin, our recently elected St. Louis County Attorney, encouraged us to join him in strengthening services that keep our families healthy and strong.

Mark Rubin can count on me. He inspired me to reach higher and to give more back to our beloved community. I suspect he can also count on most of the other fifty-five business community members who joined me to listen to Mark’s keynote address at a luncheon held earlier this week hosted by the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Rubin and the Chamber’s leadership understand that a prevailing sense of community is one of the strong points that will make our Shining City on the Hill even more remarkable. A sense of connection that leads us to care more for our neighbors can be what causes us to remain here and causes insightful, community minded individuals and families to relocate here.

If the rise in volunteerism is an indicator, it is apparent that many community members are recognizing what several Chamber members have known all along: we need each other if we are going to keep our community vibrant. If our community is to be consistently renewed, then this involvement with one another must continue.

To deal with our shared community challenges, we must recognize that our community includes persons from different interest groups, different neighborhoods, different political affiliations, and with different ideas regarding what is best for our city.

“Anti-development,” “preservationist,” “environmentalist,” “conservative”, big business,” and other labels come between us and can limit our interaction and flaw our relationships. Undue labeling impedes our collective community’s effectiveness, and we all suffer as a result. Let us not lessen our sense of community by perpetuating the labeling of others. Instead, let’s do as Mark Rubin encourages us to and reach across former barriers to partner in advancing our community.

The Chamber is successfully reaching out to work with individuals and organizations in an effort to strengthen our community. Examples include the establishment of a sustained partnership with: the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Union, the 148th Fighter Wing, the Duluth Public School District, St. Louis County’s leadership, the City of Duluth’s administration, and numerous organizations such as the Life House and Minnesota Teen Challenge.

We have achieved these objectives by avoiding the labeling of others and by sincerely extending ourselves to understand and work with others who were formerly and unjustifiably viewed as anti-development. We now understand that we can partner in advancing our community.

Mark Rubin’s call to service resonates with us at the Chamber. After all, we are an organization sustained by volunteers. We also fully internalize how vitally important it is that our businesses are located in a healthy vibrant community.

It is an exciting time to be living here in this enchanted Emerald City on shores of the Greatest of the Great Lakes.

David Ross
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

posted by David Ross at


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