The editorial board of The Durango Herald has decided to add a new element to our opinion pages in 2021 – and we want your help.
It’s our intent to define four or five topics we will examine in depth over the course of the year, focusing multiple individual editorials on these topics, and inviting community leaders and experts to write guest columns about them.
Our hope is that during the course of the year, we can find and share new information, generate discussion in the community and identify potential solutions to some of the seemingly intractable challenges we face.
We’ve decided to call this project FOCUS 2021. During the year, we’ll mark editorials and columns about these special topics with a symbol so you can easily identify them.
While we have our own evolving list of potential topics, we wanted to include you, our readers, in this process.
What do you think are the most significant issues facing Durango, La Plata County and the Four Corners? What are you concerned and curious about? What matters most to you about our community’s future?
We’d like you to let us know what you think those issues are. They may be reflective of global, national or regional issues – such as climate change, homelessness or affordable health care. They may be political or social; require legislation or a sea change in the national will to effect a shift; or be very deeply, humanly relational.
Metaphorically, we can talk about the river and the droplets that make it up, the waves that move its surface, the stones the water softens and the canyons it carves.
Using homelessness as a more concrete example, we could look at how Durangoans fall between the cracks in the system; how societal “fixes” have been less than successful; how faith organizations have been picking up the slack; and how homelessness impacts minorities, veterans, the mentally ill and other marginalized people more than the mainstream of La Plata County.
We can talk about the Purple Cliffs encampment and whether it’s a long-term solution and the Durango Community Shelter and its essential services. We can talk about the children of homeless families, newly homeless elderly, the single mothers who have lost it all during COVID-19. We can look at other communitys’ solutions.
That’s just an example of the different perspectives we could take on one community challenge. Are ideas coming to your mind yet? We hope so.
In the past, the Herald has hosted small groups of people who came together to discuss the issues of the day. COVID-19 put an end to those in-person meetings.
But growing familiarity with using Zoom and other web platforms to bring people together online poses an obvious alternative: We plan to revive the idea of the community input groups by hosting fairly regular online meetings you will be able to attend and at which you can voice your ideas. This also will provide us with an additional means of getting your feedback as the year goes on.
So, we invite you to write to us. If you’re able, please use the Letters to the Editor portal on the Herald’s website, and write “FOCUS 2021” in your subject line. If you can’t use the online portal, please email us at email@example.com or send us a written letter at Editorials, Durango Herald, 1275 Main Avenue, Suite 300, Durango, CO 81301.
Don’t forget to give us your name, town of residence, phone number and email address in case we need to be in touch.
The deadline to have us consider your ideas for FOCUS 2021 is Dec. 31.
We look forward to connecting with you in 2021.