A Capital Cause: Caring citizens launch Community Renewal in Washington, D.C.
For release: May 10, 2012
More than 200 businessmen, public servants, community leaders and other caring citizens came together in Washington, D.C., on May 9 to launch Community Renewal Capital Area.
The goal is to bring renewal and a stronger sense of community to one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse cities.
Several years of groundwork preceded the reception and dinner at the Army and Navy Club, where invited guests heard both teachings and testimonies about the life-changing power of Community Renewal International.
The Hon. John Dalton, former secretary of the U.S. Navy, is a Shreveport native who has long followed the work of Community Renewal in his hometown. Now he is leading the effort to bring renewal to the nation’s capital.
“We have a process and a working model which we know can start, grow and sustain caring communities with measurable results. We can do this by activating and empowering local residents, neighborhood by neighborhood, including our own,” Dalton said.
“We have seen this model work in Shreveport Louisiana, in Abilene, Texas, and in Cameroon, West Africa. We are also starting a model in Lexington, Kentucky. These are all remote locations. In Washington D.C., every news organization in the world has a correspondent and every country in the world has an embassy. Together, we can make our world a home where every child is indeed safe and loved.”
Dalton says the impact Community Renewal has in regard to reducing crime, educating students and building better communities is phenomenal.
The effort to establish Community Renewal in Washington, D.C., also received a boost when two prominent men who have advised U.S. presidents recently visited the CRI model in Shreveport. Those men are Robert “Bud” McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and Steve Danzansky, who served in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
“A little over two months ago, I and my friend Bud McFarlane flew down to Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana, and there witnessed a community in an active state of transformation and renewal,” Danzansky told the D.C. audience.
“A rainbow collection of citizens, much like the folks here tonight, had decided that they had had enough. They had seen too much of their city coming apart, or falling apart; and that this was not an acceptable fate for their home town. And so together they set about – block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood – to reclaim, transform and renew their community in ways that I can only describe as contagious if not miraculous. The foundational elements of reform that Mack McCarter has conceived, captured and systematized under the CRI moniker was at the heart of this transformation and guiding it.”
McFarlane was out of the country and unable to attend the dinner, but enthusiastically endorsed CRI during his visit to Shreveport.
“This is a model that holds promise and that provides hope to broken families. We have people in this country in desperate conditions. They need your Friendship Houses, your Haven Houses and your love,” he said after a day immersed in the Shreveport model.
“I can’t quite put into words what a blessing this is. You provide an element of hope and then you nurture change. You cannot deny this is successful. You are taking very troubled neighborhoods and turning them into communities.”
CRI Founder Mack McCarter told the packed room about the mission and methods of Community Renewal.
“People say the District of Columbia is different, but we have the same hopes and dreams. One thing we share in common is the capacity to care. But we must become visible to one another. And it starts tonight,” he said.
“We have become disconnected and being disconnected brings dysfunction. It is critical that we are bound together. We want to stand beside you while you give hope to the world by changing the nation’s capital.”
A task force has been organized and has been at work raising funds and growing a caring network. Future plans call for the hiring of a coordinator for Capital Area Community Renewal and full implementation of the CRI model in all types of neighborhoods.
“I’m very excited about bringing Community Renewal here,” Dalton said. “Margaret and I want to have a party at our house with our neighbors and we want to see We Care signs all over our neighborhood.”