A great man once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." The United States is a big place but our country begins at the local level, with every single municipality within our 50 states. We are all in the City of Miami together, and we should always ask ourselves: "What have I done today, yesterday, or in the past few weeks, to help my community?"
Or the even better question is: "What can I do tomorrow to make Miami a better place?"
As a new commissioner I promoted the idea of a social contract to our citizens. The idea was first introduced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his famous work On the Social Contract
, published in 1762. Adhering to the social contract I proposed meant that residents would spend at least 10 minutes a day doing something to improve our community. This process could be as simple as being more polite (we all remember the magic words "please" and "thank you"). It could be a physical act to improve our community, like sweeping the sidewalk, picking up litter on your own property and the property of others, extending a helping hand, or performing a random act of kindness. The acts could also come in the form of commitments to charitable organizations, such as environmental awareness groups, religious organizations, community-based organizations, or homeowners associations.
Many citizens feel that because they are taxed the government should take care of everything. The government's resources are stretched thin. The simple act of stooping over and picking up litter saves citizens from employing more workers, resulting in more taxes. For those not aware, the sidewalks and the swales of properties of residents and businesses are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. However, many businesses and some residents feel that the sidewalk and swale are the city's responsibility. No one can do a better job of taking care of what is directly in front of them than an owner possessing the pride of ownership.
We are becoming an insular society. Many do not interact with each other by staying glued to their computers or televisions. This one-sided interaction does not satisfy the human need to be social or our ability to be productive and help others. This trend, if continued, will only silo communities, and limit our understanding of each other.
We need to break the trend and pay it forward. I hope each day you are taking an active role in your community with the goal of making the City of Miami a better place to live, work, and play. But if not, I urge you to become a part of solving the many problems our city faces.
If you are looking to volunteer, a good place to start is volunteermatch.org which offers a variety of opportunities across the country.
As always, if you have questions or concerns that you'd like to share, you can always call our office at (305) 250-5333 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org