SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – There’s a new initiative the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana is using to connect people in Shreveport and fuel honest conversations about the challenges and positive aspects of the city.
“How do we get a kaleidoscopic view of this community? A, to better understand what this community really looks like. B, to understand some areas of the community where we’re really doing great things. And C, hopefully some things will surface that seem very clear and we need to focus on to improve. Even lastly, how can we better understand the community so we can better understand ourselves? What’s our identity? Who are we as a community?” Jeffrey Goodman, YMCA Director of Marketing.
Goodman created a weekly podcast series called Shreveport-Bossier: My City, My Community, My Home.
“The idea behind this is how can we see this community from as many different angles as possible,” Goodman said.
He is talking with local experts and civic leaders to share their insight and honest thoughts about the city.
“If I were having a really honest conversation about Shreveport I would say we’re a place with a beautiful culture and a rich history. But still with some challenges in terms of achieving the unity that we’re really going to have to achieve to move this place forward,” said John Nickelson, Shreveport City Council District C.
From crime and racial disparities.
“I think exposure is so key. You’ve got to be exposed to different concepts and different people,” said Dr. Kenna Franklin, LSUS Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.
To the economy.
“If it’s economic prosperity than yeah, that’s a problem. The numbers would say it’s a major problem here. Yet there are good things that are in place that are taking traction,” said Chris Graham, Fibrebond President and CEO.
Even the rise of the farm-to-table movement that’s helping local restaurants and farmers.
“When I moved here 14 years ago we didn’t have that,” said Gabriel Balderas, Chef of El Cabo Verde and Zuzul Coastal Cuisine Menu.
Allowing for different perspectives and a platform to speak.
“I tell my guests I’m going to ask a question. If you want to take two seconds to answer it. If you want to take two hours to answer it. This is your time. You have as much time as you like,” Goodman said.
Goodman is planning a larger conversation series about juvenile crime and wants to get the community involved.