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What we do today is an investment in the future

These are exciting and promising times for San Antonio. This fall, Mayor Julián Castrochallenged the community to come together and boldly imagine a shared future for our city through SA 2020. The community has responded in an extraordinary and unprecedented way.

During three energized community forums, more than 3,000 San Antonians have contributed by showing up in person or by plugging in via live webcasts, Facebook, and Twitter. As one of three chairpersons of this effort, I have been blown away by the level of public engagement.

As we approach the penultimate community forum this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary's University, we must remind folks that SA 2020 isn't winding down. It's just beginning.

It will be a huge lost opportunity if we are satisfied because we showed up, shared our dreams and aspirations for San Antonio's future and then sit back to judge if the mayor and other leaders deliver for us.

Our community has engaged powerfully in this effort because the mayor asked us to collectively envision a bold future — much bigger than simply adding a new park, repaving paving some roads, introducing a few more well paying jobs or coming up with some catchy new slogan to market our city.

The change we've talked about since September is transformational. It will not be easy, but it's within our power.

As we enter the stretch run on the SA 2020 community forums, picture your precious children, your grandchildren, or even the rambunctious young neighbor child down the block.

In 2020, today's 8-year-old will be 18, considering college and dreaming about the future.

Ask yourself what kind of San Antonio can we create together for those young people? What selfless actions might I take over that would contribute?

I often view our shared SA 2020 effort through the lens of my 6-year-old son. When he becomes an adult, I am hopeful that he will build a life in San Antonio not because mom and dad want him close, but because we created a city where the quality of life available to all is irresistible to his generation.

Tonight is another important step in the SA 2020 process. So far, elements of our future vision include a much more educated community at large, a healthier and more vibrant community, young people who are prepared academically to take on the world and a transportation network that moves people from place to place with efficiency.

We will work together on Wednesday to answer the questions: How will we measure our efforts? What will satisfy us that we are getting there? How committed are we to personally stick with this effort when the last meeting has ended?

Think about what role you will to play going forward. Very soon, we will have a refined list of powerful vision statements that will require us to ask ourselves, “What actions am I going to take at home with my family, in my neighborhood, at my house of worship and my workplace to contribute to San Antonio's bold future?”

Imagine the power of thousands of engaged actions (small and large) taking place each day over the next half generation in service to our shared vision?

Mayor Castro asked us for our help and sustained partnership in transforming San Antonio. Today San Antonio belongs to us. Tomorrow it will belong to our children. It is then that they will inherit the investment that we make in their city today.

Originally posted December 8, 2010


Darryl Byrd is a former President and CEO, former tri-chair, and current board member of Sa2020

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