June eNews Guest Editor, Kenneth Pratt, LT 20

Leadership Tallahassee, Forever. 

Turn on any cable news channel today and it won’t be long before you hear a great deal about how divided our country is—politically, economically, socially, and even spiritually. Closer to home, some of us may occasionally encounter residents of our city who have a litany of complaints regarding some aspect of our community. Be it newspapers, blogs, emails, text messages, or social media, it’s not too difficult to find negative perspectives about various aspects of Tallahassee.

The recent blockbuster movie Black Panther [spoiler alert] chronicles a fictional and hidden African nation, Wakanda, that ends up fighting a civil war among it’s own residents. It takes selfless community leaders to bring Wakanda’s people together and to heal their divide. In the closing moments of the film, the new leader of Wakanda, T’Challa, explains that his hidden African home country of Wakanda is ready to step forward and be an example to the world:

Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.

We, as leaders and community trustees, must remind ourselves of two of the valuable lessons portrayed in the movie. First, that many of the things that have been used to divide our communities are as much fantasy as the fictional country of Wakanda. Secondly, we must remember that one of the responsibilities of leadership is that during difficult times, we must find ways to unite our community rather than divide it. This is the power of Leadership Tallahassee—as described in our mission—to cultivate a diverse network of emerging and experienced leaders committed to improving our community.
It is my pleasure and an honor to serve as chair of this dynamic group of leaders this year. It is my hope and prayer that this organization, like the country of Wakanda, will continue to be a role model of how leaders can work together to help unite our community and heal it’s divides.

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