I read the article regarding Natasha Leggero and her comments about Rockford. I disagree with her assessment of our city and our people. For a comedian going for a cheap laugh, she wasn’t very funny. But that is not the point.
The problem is NOT what a B-level comedian says about Rockford. The problem is NOT the Rockford paper’s running of a non-news story that gives a voice to a person few in our community know or care about. The problem IS what we are saying about ourselves right now, right here in Rockford. The problem IS that many people will disagree with this type of nonsense but few will counter it. At the end of day, I am the problem. For far too long I have sat back and been part of the silent majority of people who are proud of our community but don’t respond to this type of rant. That is, until now.
I have noticed a trend when it comes to people who take cheap shots at our city and our people.
The problem is we all hear them but rarely see them.
- I don’t see these people working to improve and grow our community – But I hear them mock it.
- I don’t see these people championing the 99% of the people in this community who are good, hard-working people – But I hear them using the 1% to define all of us.
- I don’t see these people joining the hundreds of community volunteers who give their time to organizations like Carpenters Place, Next Rockford, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YWCA of Rockford, Sharefest, United Way of the Rock River Valley, Strong Kids Campaign, or the Rock River Chapter of the Red Cross – But I hear them say nobody in this community cares. Nobody cares? Really?
- I don’t see these people getting involved in improving education in our community. They are no where to be found at PTO meetings, parent-teacher conferences, or getting involved with difference-making groups like Alignment Rockford – But I hear them say teachers don’t care and kids can’t learn. I hear them say this community is not 100% committed to offering great private, public, and charter school options to ensure we build a world class work force.
- I don’t see these people working their tails-off trying to improve the business environment in Rockford like the dedicated staff and volunteers involved with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – But I hear them say change can’t happen despite of multiple recent “wins” that prove otherwise. Ignoring progress is no longer acceptable.
- I don’t see these people stepping-up and running for office or supporting a candidate that they believe will bring about positive change in our community – But I hear them blame politicians for not fixing all of their problems.
Right now there IS positive momentum in our community as well as a number of challenges. If you have an idea that will move us forward, then share it. However, don’t complain unless you have a solution. And don’t speak-up unless you plan on rolling-up your sleeves and working alongside the good people of this community who are trying to make things better.
The question is not does Rockford have room for improvement. The question is what are you going to do about it?
And when a Rockford kid makes it big in the future – remember that you have a choice:
- The Rick Nielsen way: be proud of where you came from and help-out when and where you can. We love his music and his love of Rockford.
- The Natasha Leggero way: best categorized as the opposite of the Rick Nielsen way. It doesn’t mean we won’t root for her continued success. It just means she made a choice to tear-down vs. build-up the community she came from.
I am proud of to live, work, and raise my family in the Rockford area. There are a lot of people like me who feel the same way. You may not hear from us as often as you should; however, we are here and in large numbers.
If you want to help continue the forward movement in Rockford and are a Gen X or Y’er, then check-out our Next Rockford November Meeting on Thursday the 11th at 7:30 am at the YWCA (across from Rockford College). Natasha, you are most welcome to attend. We would love to see you there. Our door is always open.
Next Rockford Facilitator