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New & Next: Are You All In, Denver?


Jami Duffy wants to give locals a voice in the city's growth and change. She's launching a new organization to do just that: All In Denver.
Hey, Denver! Did you cut your hair? Are you wearing makeup? Change your glasses? Something is different.

Face it. The landscape of our city is shifting so rapidly that it feels like we're living in a scene from Inception. Our schools seem like they're working, until we're hit between the eyes with the daunting truth that our public schools have one of the widest achievement gaps in the nation; and to top it all off, someone keeps building dog parks where our neighbors used to live and congregate.

Still, change is inevitable. But that doesn't mean it has to come as a surprise.

In my daily musings with neighbors, friends, colleagues and students with varied backgrounds, economic statuses and political ideologies, I hear one collective, unified theme.

"I want to be more involved. But I don't know how."

On one hand, hearing this makes me sad. And maybe a little disappointed. In the information age, how can we all still be struggling to find ways to come together to shape our city?

On the other hand, this is great news. People across our city, people like yourselves, genuinely care about creating a community that is healthy and thriving -- and not just for them, but for all people.

Listen, I know you want a chance to shape our city and to have your voices heard. You want to find ways to channel your energy into creating neighborhoods and an urban center that works for you, and everyone else -- or at least you want to know that your footprint isn't smashing anyone else's chance at a happy life. You're wondering how to move your frustrations and concerns off of your Facebook feed and into real community action. If you're like most everyone, you're probably looking for some "Give it to me straight. What the hell is really going on in Denver" kind of talk and information.

Mostly, you're looking for tangible ways to dialogue with neighbors, and to have a healthy debate about the direction of this beautiful city we call home. And I'm guessing you're tired of feeling guilty about not knowing and doing enough.

It sounds to me like you're looking for All In Denver. All In Denver hasn't launched. Yet. But it's coming -- and soon. As early as Aug. 1, you can get involved at www.allindenver.org.

As a new membership advocacy organization, All In Denver will aim to bring fresh voices and perspectives to Denver's ongoing debate on growth. Our position is simple: Growth should benefit everyone in the city, not just a few. We are convinced that investments that create opportunity -- including affordable housing, quality education and the preservation of neighborhood culture -- are as important to our regional prosperity moving forward as big projects were during the past 30 years.

Simply put, there has to be a better way for Denver than the path we are currently on. And that way involves you. So, hang in there, and I'll keep bringing you things to think about, topics worth discussing and ways to quench your thirst for deeper involvement in the shaping of our city.

Things in Denver are about to get interesting. Are you all in?

Jami Duffy is the co-founder of All In Denver. She's been a champion and thought leader around advancing equity in Colorado since she held her first sit-in in the fifth grade.
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