Blame, shame and complain. We Americans do a lot of that, regardless of political affiliation, most often between elections. Don’t get mad, get even.

Here’s your chance to do something completely different Tuesday. Once every two years. For a change, your vote has nothing to do with red, blue or gold-yellow. It has everything to do with the quality of life in your neighborhood.

You own the outcome.

Vote for an individual who impacts your life on a daily basis—your City Council representative. This year, you are choosing six district representatives for the nine-member City Council.

Only 11% of ballots had been returned in the city election by March 26, 10 days before it’s over, the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s office reports. As of that date, slightly more than 33,400 ballots had been received—from the 303,000 mailed, or 11%. Shocking.

C’mon, fellow Springs lovers, we can do better than this, we are better than this. Do you realize that this is the most personal way you can offer recommendations to the City Council regarding emerging issues of social impact to the community, serve as a community referral resource, and become a sounding board to City Council on these matters (alongside us)?

Your particular issue of interest might be around: affordable housing; homelessness; policing and law enforcement transparency and accountability; employment; mental health; transportation; health care; parks and open spaces; the direction for residential and commercial real estate development in the face of surging demand; climate change and its effect on water supply, an increase in diversity, equity and inclusion education programs, and the changing playing field for specific civil liberties and civil rights.

Whew, heck of a laundry list, all important issues we need to resolve or solve in one way or another.

Pick one or two (or more!) of these you really can believe in and stand up for with your vote. Two-way communication with city leadership, simple as that.

They all directly involve the forgotten art and science of “human relations,” or how our actions in the world affect the other people we interact with on a daily basis. While we might share different values, how far can we expand a common ground for all humanity through true dialogue?

As corny as it sounds, yes, you, are the individual who can help achieve a change in the destiny of Colorado Springs in particular, and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.

With the obstacles, roadblocks and difficult challenges we, as a collective society, have faced in the past year, this is the one thing we can do that is so simple and effective and within our immediate control.

Dialogue and action — it is important that these be employed simultaneously. We take action while holding discussions and discuss things while taking action. Herein lies the strength of your right and responsibility to vote.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

•Martin Luther King Jr.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

• Martin Luther King Jr.

The important thing is how we can use the power of dialogue to bring the city of Colorado Springs closer together and raise humanity here to a new eminence. In the present highly complex world of overlapping hatreds, pandemics, contradictory interests, and conflicts on every level, even attempting to accomplish such things might seem idealistic at best.

To allow the civilization of dialogue to seed and bloom in our city must be a unifying goal in the next decade. Let’s begin with this City Council election.

Your voted ballot must be in one of the 24/7 ballot drop boxes across the city or in the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s office by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Election information is found on coloradosprings.gov/elections.

The Human Relations Commission includes: Voting Commissioners (9): Delia B. Armstrong-Busby, Stan L. Friedman, Ellen Johnson-Fay, Anjuli Kapoor, Arlisha Lawson, Alex Morlang, Kimberly P. Sannes and Candace Woods, Hevia Moni Woods. The Alternates (3): Alfreda Jones, Ty J. Nagamatsu and Benjamin X Gallegos Pardo. To learn more about The City of Colorado Springs Human Relations Commission and join in the conversation: https://coloradosprings.gov/community-development/page/human-relations-commission-hrc

To learn more about The City of Colorado Springs Human Relations Commission and join in the conversation: https://coloradosprings.gov/community-development/page/human-relations-commission-hrc

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