February CEO Blog

“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.” Toni Morrison (from her novel Tar Baby) 

As February ends, there is still much for us to celebrate and reflect on despite the past year of hardship.  Black History Month is always a welcome time, one that calls on us to acknowledge our Black community’s history and accomplishments and dig deeper. To consider how we weave these lessons into our work, our relationships, our communities. And ultimately, how do we work together to create a more equitable, connected, just, and thriving community? I hope that we continue to have challenging conversations that help us grow beyond this month.

During a cold month, a true bright spot was Toni Morrison Day, the birthday of our very own hometown hero, which was celebrated throughout the state of Ohio for the first time in 2021. We were inspired by students’ thought-provoking essays for the second Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People. In the narrative, The Site of Memory, Toni Morrison reflects upon the importance of people, places, family, and the familiar details of everyday people’s extraordinary lives.

This year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding us, we asked the student essay writers to consider Morrison’s narrative and the people and places that have informed and sustained them during the pandemic. The responses were inspiring and striking and served as a stark reminder that beauty, kindness, and love are all around us, even in some of the darkest, hardest, and coldest of times. I encourage you to read the winning essays on our website. I think you will find insight and wisdom from our young people.

Speaking of incredible young people, the Leaders of Today Black History Exhibit provided an engaging opportunity to learn and listen from the younger generation through art.  I hope you were able to explore the exhibit, and if not, I encourage you to mark it on your calendar for next February. You will not be disappointed.

As we turn our focus to March and the prospect of spring on the horizon, please consider registering your non-profit organization to join us again for Connect to a Cause 21 by March 31st.   The event will take place on September 16th. One imperative of the many lessons 2020 taught us is to be prepared with an endowment to serve as a rainy-day fund for unforeseeable circumstances. This year’s Connect to a Cause 21 is coming together, and we are excited to have you join us.   

Finally, as the days begin to get longer and brighter, I encourage you to join us in exploring the Lorain County MetroParks, taking a socially distanced walk with a friend, family member, or neighbor, trying a new outdoor sport or hobby, and embracing the season. While we continue to navigate the many challenges in our community and beyond, let’s remember to support each other and lift each other.

We may be apart, but we are not alone.


Cindy Andrews