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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The New Frontier

Opening new frontiers with Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign - The Next Great generation - Tom Miesen - August 16, 2010

This commercial from Levi's Strauss Company hits pretty close to home with me, because it is what I believe and what I try to convey. We see this town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. that has lost it's steel manufacturing industry and 90% of its population as a result of the loss of industry. (Wikipedia) Braddock, a suburb of Pittsburgh, was founded around the site of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill, the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in 1873, as well as the first Carnegie library, and developed with the local steel industry.[1]

The child in the commercial speaks:
“We were taught how the pioneers went into the West. They opened their eyes and made up what things could be. A long time ago, things got broken here… People got sad and left. Maybe the world breaks on purpose, so we can have work to do. People think there aren’t frontiers anymore…They can’t see how frontiers are all around us.”
Braddock's Mayor John Fetterman is a take the bull by the horns type of guy.  (Wikipedia) As mayor, Fetterman has drawn international attention in trying to revitalize the economy in Braddock. He moved to Braddock in 2001 to work for AmeriCorps, helping local youth who had left school earn their GED. Fetterman established strong relationships with the 16- to 24-year-old population, helping many in finding employment, and working with them with issues involving family, social agencies, and police.[5] He also founded the 501(c)(3), Braddock Redux.[5]  Following his election, in 2005, Fetterman initiated youth and art programs, created a community center, and has tried to initiate development of the town's mostly ruined buildings and poor economy.[1] Fetterman has launched a campaign to attract new residents to the area from the artistic and so-called creative communities[3] and other programs include a two-acre organic urban farm, worked by teenagers of the Braddock Youth Project.[5

Fetterman's efforts to create youth-oriented programs, revitalize his town, and attract artists and other "creatives" to his community were featured in The New York Times. An article about him, describing him as "America's coolest mayor", appeared on July 15, 2009 in The Guardian in the United Kingdom.[13] In 2010, Levi Strauss & Company donated money to Braddock's revitalization and features the town in an advertising campaign and documentary produced by Sundance Channel.[14]  The IFC and Sundance television channels showed the film Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock. This film interviews many of the local residents and shows their efforts to revitalize the town.[12]

The Hound: These are the types of efforts that we are going to have to see in our community and other former industrial communities here in the United States, The new frontier involves developing programs that will get the community on the road towards action in dealing with blight and revitalization. The older generations have a role to play in helping the younger generations transition to a new economic paradigm. The longer we push these issues down the road, the harder it is going to be to deal with these issues. We can't afford to sit and watch buildings crumble around us. The time to begin taking action has passed. We can't afford to continue talking these issues to death and waiting for lawyers to sort them out. Lawyers never solve anything. All they do is dream up problems that don't even exist. Creating problems is not the New Frontier. Solutions is the New Frontier. Blight in our community is not hypothetical. It is time to move forward into the New Frontier.

1 comment:

Silence DoGood said...

My God man, think about what you’re saying!! Artists, intellectuals, creative persons! What will become of “Hickory Style” Hickory with an infusion of those kinds of people? Understanding? Synthesis? Compassion? Growth? Even, dare I say, meaningful government? Pardon me while I slap myself out of that daydream. (Sorry, Mel Brooks)

This is the same ad campaign that Glen Beck took exception to with an ad he saw from it and disavowed Levi Strauss and Company. So, that makes it a hit with me! Insightful thoughts however and I agree completely.