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Activism Part of Living in Reston

I have written about leadership in Patch for more than a year. The moment is upon us to all take a good look at the word activism.

For many of us, activism is a lifestyle. We learned it in the 60s and it is who we are, and for what we stand. We need to contribute. Because we are confronted with the current assault on Reston open space, activism is being renewed for some and is a new life experience for others.

Activism occurs in people, or I should probably say activism explodes in people under a certain set of conditions. Perhaps they are afraid or threatened. They become angry and upset at some issue. But I think far and away activism explodes in our conscience when we feel our family is being lied to or marginalized. When an issue cuts to the core of our lifestyle, strikes at the heart of right or wrong, or at a concept that we have spent a lifetime developing.

Activists are leaders. As leaders they understand the vital necessity of becoming a teammate and uniting for a common cause. Activists clearly understand the power in communicating with others to grow their number.

Peter Koestenbaum, noted author on leadership, wrote of four values of active leadership: reality, ethics, vision, and courage.

Reality is arriving at the truth, navigating through the fog of suspicion, innuendo,
and manipulation. It is about obtaining facts and verifying information. It is
the process of discovery. For some of us it is the amazing grasp of the
obvious! When these values are violated, when the truth is hidden, the activist
becomes incensed, feels betrayed, and frankly… gets real angry.

Ethics are commonly misunderstood. We engage in ethical conversations to determine the moral value, the right and wrong, about a specific subject. So we engage our own moral compass, confronting the risk of accountability to pursue the right action.

As educated citizens we weigh the thought, “Are  people treating me with dignity and respect or are they dismissing me, my neighbors, and friends out right?”

Vision is of course the primary ingredient in all leaders. A great leader has a vision; he or she clearly defines the idea and uses their skill to communicate that vision to others to become involved, to take action.

Courage is perhaps the most important word in the lexicon of the activist. It takes courage to stand up, raise your voice, and lead. It takes courage to give up time with family and profession. It takes courage to motivate the apathetic and unconcerned. Mostly it takes courage to stand in opposition of those who possess professional skills that you seldom need or use.

We activists must stand for others who cannot take action due to family responsibilities, professional commitments, or those who are frankly intimidated by the entire process. The activist must stand for those who cannot act. There are many more that spiritually stand shoulder to shoulder that we cannot forget. We all share the loss and we all share the gain.

Please become active. Join the Rescue Reston Rally this Saturday at 4PM at the corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive to defend our community from those outsiders who disrespect our culture of open space, who in the name of its just business have no problem violating a commitment that all of us made to each other as citizens of a historic planned community.

The activist responds to the call of the famous Joni Mitchell lyric "don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what youve got till it's gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot!"

See you Saturday!  http://RescueReston.org



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lucinda Shannon October 01, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I had to be out of town this weekend and missed the rally. I’m surprised there isn’t an article about the rally in the Patch already? How did it go?
John Pinkman October 01, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Rescue Reston was elated that Supervisor Hudgins came to strongly stand in opposition of redevelopment of the course; that RA and RCA join us in a common front. But most of all we were thrilled at our Sea of Green! Watch for those bright green shirts on Rescuers around town! Rescuers from all over Reston came to stand shoulder to shoulder to protect the promise of open space. It is clear that each day more and more Restonians see the peril of the attempt to break through the protection of open space. They are becoming aware that if you can break though once --- you can do it twice. If the South Course goes the North course won't be far behind. Then what is next? The Rally provided a solution -- get active - do something. Channel positive action to, alert neighbors, write letters to the BZA and by all means show up at the BZA hearing on Oct 24th. That day (a clear turning point either way for all of us) could decide the future of 166 acres of open space and set a precedent for further redevelopment in Reston! Stay tuned to RescueReston.org for how you can help. Please participate in our plan for hundreds to attend the Board of Zoning Appeal Oct 24th.
Louisa Davis October 08, 2012 at 06:13 PM
A question and concern from someone who treasures green space, the vision of an inclusive community AND the needs of low-income workers and their families: is there an opportunity in this civil discussion to meet the needs of more than just those already privileged to live near this course (as I do)? Might we hear about the financial needs of the owners of the golf/gulf course AND put on the table ways to build more affordable housing in Reston? I'm more aware of the Huge Needs of the latter and am trying to stay open to the needs of all involved....fwiw, Louisa Davis
John Pinkman October 08, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I appreciate your prospective as I would believe does Supervisor Hudgins. The status of the Golf Course/open space is being challeged as a 'by right' ability by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance to build housing at a medium density over 166 acres. Fairfax County zoning adimistrator and Reston organizations contend that no redevelopement of any sort, high or low income housing, can occur on the open space as legally dictated in historical documents.

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