In this day and age, we spend a lot of time talking about our differences, our divisions and our struggles. But the reality is, there is one thing that binds all local leaders together – that four-letter word that we all feel, but can’t always explain: love.
As president of the National League of Cities (NLC), my goal this year is to uplift that love, and give local officials the tools they need to engender love between residents and the communities where they live. We’re calling the initiative Love My City.
Love is more than just a feeling, though. The emotional bonds people create with their communities also have a powerful impact on economic prosperity. In fact, according to research from the Knight Foundation and Gallup, the stronger the attachment of residents to their communities, the higher the gross domestic product growth. That’s what Love My City is all about.
The Love My City initiative is supported by a foundation of four pillars of work:
- Encouraging civic engagement
- Uplifting legacy cities
- Creating communities for all generations
- Ensuring housing for all
Throughout the next seven months, NLC will produce research, host convenings and events, and share resources and tools connected to each of these areas.
As a part of Love My City, we are also launching a nationwide campaign to celebrate why we all love the communities we live in. It will be our very own “Summer of Love.”
Whether you are a local leader, a resident, or a corporate partner, we want you to celebrate with us. Two incredible corporate partners have already joined our efforts – CGI Communications, which helped us kick-off our Love My City initiative and Clear Channel Outdoor, which is donating digital billboard space to share our message across the country this summer.
The first step to getting involved is easy – just go to mycity.love and fill out a brief form. We’ll follow up in the coming weeks with more exciting announcements and ways to get involved.
I look forward to celebrating l-o-v-e all across the country, and I hope you do, too.
About the author: Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is the mayor of Gary, Indiana, and the president of the National League of Cities (NLC), the nation’s largest organization representing cities and their leaders. As president of NLC, Freeman-Wilson is leading the organization to focus on four priority areas: helping city leaders tackle the housing crisis; uplifting legacy cities; creating communities for all generations; and, encouraging civic engagement. Through these four pillars of work and a national campaign, Freeman-Wilson and NLC will engage city leaders to create a more meaningful bond between communities and their residents. Freeman-Wilson also leads the organization’s advocacy efforts, focused on the critical issues of infrastructure, public safety and economic development.