From the Editors: Divisibility and indivisibility
Aug. 26, 2020
Even before our whole world turned upside down, this year's edition of Erie's 40 Under 40 was destined to be one of numerological significance. Consider these factors (literally): it was always going to be our eighth class (40 ÷ 8 = 5), announced in the year 2020 (40 ÷ 20 = 2), which is our 10th as a print publication (40 ÷ 10 = 4). But also consider all that we hadn't factored into our plans — that it would arrive two months (40 ÷ 2 = 20) later than usual, five full months (40 ÷ 5 = 8) into a global pandemic, and be only our fourth (40 ÷ 4 =10) issue back from publishing purgatory.
Despite the tidiness of those divisors, as editorial calendar devisers, we'd be lying if we said everything has gone quite as we surmised. Tongue twisters aside, though, one thing was absolutely no surprise — the breadth and diversity of 40 Under 40 candidates nominated by the Reader readership. Their faces range from those fresh out of college to those just settling into handsome maturity; their occupations run the gamut from accountant to woodworker (and everything in between); their interests and hobbies include anything from ghost-hunting to scuba diving to playing the ukulele. Although noteworthy for both their professional distinctions and their individual distinctiveness, these 40 men and women all share a common denominator — their drive to make Erie a better place across the board.
"Symmetry" and "congruity" probably won't be the first words we'll think of when reminiscing about 2020, a year that has laid bare long-ignored divisions within our society, and the ragged edges and crooked injustices that lie along those fault lines. Without a doubt, we'll be left with an ugly remainder when this is all said and done, with psychological and emotional baggage that will carry over far beyond 2021. Nonetheless, we have confidence our young people will outlive these struggles, and near certainty, they will even our odds.
Why do we feel this way? Because the resilience, nimbleness, and enthusiasm of youth is so evident in these pages — kids at the Inner-City Neighborhood Art House transcending their circumstances to create beautiful works of art and imagination; area high school students banding together to ignite social change; and of course, the young adults in Erie's 40 Under 40 classes both past and present who touch all levels of our community.
The mental calculus isn't really all that tough — our future is youth, and the future is bright.