From the Editors: May 9, 2018
If you got it, flaunt it
Exposure can be either a very good or very bad thing — as the days grow longer, there is both more light to go around and more places to shine it. One might be excited to lift the cover on his or her pool, convertible, or washboard abs. Another might be leery of unveiling an unswimmable primordial swamp, a scratch in their paint, or the biggest muffin top this side of Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe. There are leisurely afternoons on the beach and late nights on the patio, but there are also sunburns and bug bites. As spring segues into summer, we reap the rewards of being out-and-about more often, but also incur the risks. It's easier to be more sociable, more active, and more fulfilled; but it's also much harder to hide inadequacies and those aspects of ourselves and our realities that we would much rather remain hidden.
That being the case, we might as well face the music. Literally — there are seemingly more music festivals within a short drive than ice cream stands. Roll up your tents, pack plenty of sunscreen, and fill your Camelbaks, because Nick Warren can (and does) list an event for virtually every weekend from now until September in our annual Summer Music Festival Preview. Few things bring people together like song and dance, and no matter what your tastes are, you're likely to find kindred spirits in front of an outdoor stage not far from you. This is exposure in the best sense.
If words are more your idea of an escape, you'll want to check out the newly-opened Pressed bookstore in the Greengarden Plaza. One of the titles you may find there is James and Deborah Fallows' Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, wherein the married couple delve into the cultures and mindsets of communities all throughout the country, both large and small. One such community was Erie, PA, which the duo visited for a week in 2016. During that time, they witnessed not only the obvious eyesores (rundown factories, blighted properties), but also an attitude and climate of progress, the will to improve and persevere against all odds.
Immigrants and former refugees such as Jefferson Educational Society President Ferki Ferati and Deputy Sheriff Youssif Almusawi (profiled in this edition's "Maitham's Corner") can certainly attest to that, as they've fled bleak circumstances and affected lives positively right here in Erie. We cannot be shy about exposing ourselves to change; there are deep wounds in our neighborhoods that will continue to fester unless they are brought to the attention of our leaders and ritually cared for. Mayor Joe Schember has certainly made himself more visible around town — it is time now for our next wave of new leadership (there will be new representation for Erie at both the state and possibly federal levels in November; primaries take place May 15) to examine and address these infirmities, and remain hospitable to the ideas of the community.
Then maybe, just maybe we will have no more reservations about showing off.