Separate But Equal
Initially, when the task was put upon us to embark on the journey that became Mission: iPossible, the community restoration project to complete the fulfillment of Apple iPad2 devices to declared 'merit-based' winners in a contest hosted on a website called Marissa's Bunny, it seemed so...simple.
In theory, it is. Or at least you hope that it will be.
The logistics of the endeavor, though, have been much more difficult than I ever imagined. Had I the same experience to do over again, would I still do it? Absolutely. I would just have approached it differently. But that's hindsight. and you know what they say about that.
One of the things I had tried to establish from the beginning was separation, from here to there. I felt it was important to severe the link from Blogzilly to Mission: iPossible. For some reason, I believed at the time this to be a necessary action.
That thinking is flawed, fundamentally.
If the Mission is about Community, and I am a part of the Community, doesn't it therefore stand to reason that severing a link between my personal blog and my connection with Mission: iPossible, is to in some way ignore my basic membership in this Community?
For example, a Representative or Senator doesn't CEASE to be a Citizen once he takes an official position to serve his community. And while that analogy doesn't fit since I am not in an elected 'position' within the SN Community, it serves a purpose in the sense that I don't cease to be a Community member just because I am a part of this group that is trying to serve a function of getting children with communication-related disabilities their iPads.
So...why DID I initially try to install a kind of barrier between the two?
A good question.
I think, perhaps, the answer is based on fear. Fear of repetition. I remember how it felt having 'sponsored' the original contest by sending people to donate, and how responsible I, and many other people, felt for that outcome.
I know people like myself, Heather, Danielle, Ellen, Joyce, Cortney and many, many others felt a deep sense of personal guilt, they all said so, publicly on their blogs, and it was very real, so much so that it caused a lot of emotional tension, anger...all the things you might expect.
I think the fulfillment will be achieved on these iPads. Hell, we've already pulled together funds for 5 of them, we've shipped 3, another ships imminently, and we are nearing the funds for a 6th. In a little over TWO WEEKS since we 'officially' launched the site.
But I think the emotional fever of this contest and its post-contest aftermath will resonate long, long after this first community restoration project has been forgotten.
I know that I have expressed sentiment to some folks I would give anything to re-phrase, but once you put things out there in the heat of the moment, and it is perceived in ways you may not have intended, you are stuck with the outcome, whether you meant for it to be so or not.
But life goes on, as it should.
I've long been an admirer of Booker T. Washington.
To me, in as much it relates to how far we have come as a community of people (and believe me, I still believe we have a million miles to go), he is a man who has had a great deal to do with laying the foundation of how we relate to each other, how we treat each other. The light of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Barack Obama does not shine as brightly without the illumination that is Booker T. Washington. He was a brilliant, gifted, insightful and inspiring American.
And these words from him I often read when I need to feel encouraged.
'I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.'
-Booker T. Washington
Up From Slavery (1901)
Chapter 2 - Boyhood Days