Guest Post by Center for Global Policy Solutions Public Voices Greenhouse Participant, Solana Rice
Rarely am I so inspired to take immediate action after a skill building workshop, but the first convening of the Public Voices Greenhouse propelled me to find the energy and time to test drive the concepts that were introduced. The tools shared during the workshop were essential to making the writing process manageable. The encouraging facilitators, structured and purposeful exercises, and a cohort of tremendous advocates helped me uncover a newfound courage and duty to share my perspectives on building a more economically equitable nation. Little did I know that the next day a confluence of events would create a unique opportunity to put those concepts to good use.
The weekend after the first convening, I headed on a road trip to visit my family in Cleveland. LeBron James had just announced his return to Cleveland to play basketball for the Cavaliers and nothing else was on the local news. Per usual, I found myself getting all worked up about wanting everyone to know that Cleveland has much more than a basketball player. It is much more than the site of the next Republican National Convention, or fancy new casinos, or home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What usually is useless ranting to my family now could be channeled to action. Unlike all the times before when I’m frustrated about Cleveland’s next big thing, I now had the tools to constructively influence the dialogue about what matters in Northeast Ohio, at least from my perspective. The OpEd Project equipped me to find my expertise and my passion in this moment.
After arriving in Cleveland I stayed up late to draft an op-ed, shared it with my colleagues for review, and my op-ed mentor helped me pitch by Monday. I was amazed at the turnaround. While I am still searching for my specific expertise, I have now had the experience of discovering when I ‘m the right person to speak on a certain issue at a distinct time to a particular audience. That convergence of opportunities was thrilling and I’m grateful to be able to recognize it, act on it, and I will continue the search for more.