Executive Directors Blog
Thought for the Month: Two Viruses Infecting America Today
Like many of you, I am grappling with what is the appropriate action to take individually, and collectively in support of the justifiable unrest we are experiencing as a nation. Don Lemon said on CNN the other day that this country is dealing with two viruses. COVID-19 and Racism-20. I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. We will get through the former just fine if we continue to follow the safety protocols outlined by health professionals. However, it is the latter virus that will be a much tougher dragon to slay. But slay it together we must.
The brutal televised killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers all of whom who are thankfully now under arrest and duly charged with murder, should be yet another clarion call to all of God’s people who wish to be on the right side of history, and also to do what is right by their fellow human beings. If you watched the now infamous nearly nine-minute video and weren’t moved to action, then you had better check your pulse. It was despicable, inhumane, and antithetical to what we are supposed to believe this so-called American Experiment is all about. The words “I can’t breathe” should haunt every single one of us. Yet we have unfortunately been here before not long ago with the execution of Eric Garner in New York City, who was also caught on video uttering those same fateful words as his life was being wrongfully snuffed out.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S BLOG – MARCH 2020 NEWSLETTER
By Lowell Perry
February 18, 2020
“Positioning the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area for the Next 20 Years”
A National Heritage Area, is designated by Congress for its unique nationally significant qualities and resources. It is a combination of natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources combining to shape a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape. We take a partnership approach to heritage development involving collaborative planning around a theme, industry and/or geographical feature that influenced the nation’s culture and history. This planning strategy encourages residents, government agencies, nonprofit groups and private partners to agree on and prioritize programs and projects that recognize, preserve and celebrate many of America’s defining landscapes.
The story of water and its continuing impact on the people, land, and economy is the key to understanding the history of Yuma, the oldest city established on the Colorado River. The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA) encompasses seven square miles along the Lower Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona and Winterhaven, California, with over 3 miles of contiguous riverfront parks, trails, and 400 acres of restored wetlands. It also includes the Yuma Crossing National Historic Landmark, the iconic Yuma Territorial Prison (YTP) and Colorado River State Historic Park (CRSHP), and the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, home of the Quechan Tribe.
“REDISCOVERING THE SPIRIT OF GIVING & CIVILITY”
By Lowell Perry
September 18, 2019
The title song from Marvin Gaye’s critically acclaimed album “What’s Going On” shined the light on a number of social issues that may be even more relevant today than they were when the album was released in 1971. It seems we don’t dialogue anymore. Our conversations instead tend to be zero sum game monologues in which someone has to win, while the other has to lose, rather than meeting in the middle for a more civil discourse in which we find common ground. I don’t think I have ever seen this level of selfishness perpetuated on the national stage like unfortunately is occurring today.
We don’t have to follow that destructive formula in Yuma. Yumans have historically demonstrated an inclination to come together around common goals for the betterment of our community, such as when local companies and individuals contributed in excess of $70,000 in a 60 day period to prevent the state from closing the Yuma Territorial Prison, and the Colorado River State Historic Park, formally known as the Quartermaster Depot. It was a dynamic display of generosity and passion for preserving Yuma’s history. The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA) is looking to reinvigorate that spirit of giving through participation in this year’s Giving Tuesday beginning December 3, 2019.
Locked In, Locked Up, and Locked Out: Trapped on the Hamster Wheel of Life By Lowell Perry, Executive Director YCNHA
Ever since I embarked on my own personal journey nearly fifteen years ago to do my part to make a significant difference in the world in which I live, I have been both intrigued and incensed by a phenomenon primarily affecting children and families facing significant adversity in our cities. Too many of our young people in communities right here in Yuma, were born into, and are growing up in, a generational cycle of poverty that is much akin to an ever spinning hamster wheel which becomes seems more difficult to escape with each successive generation.
By Lowell Perry Jr.
Lent has been defined as a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that starts on Ash Wednesday and ends just before Easter Sunday. Is Lent really about chocolate bunnies, fish on Fridays, or hiding Easter eggs? Because when all of that is over, then what? Its purpose is actually to prepare a believer for Easter, through prayer, penance, charitable giving, and self-denial. Far too many of us continue to focus on the self-denial part. It has become more about what we are doing for ourselves rather than why we are observing Lent in the first place. Is giving up sweets or some other kind of food or drink going to make you a better person? Is your act of self-denial going to help others who may be in need? Of course not. In fact, we’ll go right back to scarfing down Krispy Kreme donuts and McDonald’s cheeseburgers the day after Lent ends!
The warm welcome I have received has made my transition as the new Executive Director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA) quite smooth. Gaining a better understanding of the nuances of the organization, while developing, cultivating, and stewarding relationships, has been a blast! Many thanks to current stakeholders, as well as the new friends I have made for your insight and support. All of the above has stimulated a fresh vision for the future and a plan to move forward in 2019 is emerging.