City Council FYI: ‘The Times, They Are A-Changin’
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Our Steamboat community has experienced dramatic change over the past year. A year ago, no one would have imagined that we would be climbing our way out of a pandemic, beginning to open businesses that had closed and returning our kids to full-time education after having them home for months. Our neighbors, professions, housing and rules have experienced change all the way down to each of us individually. But through it all, “who we still are” is what we need to focus on.
Steamboat isn’t what it used to be. People are moving here who may not have to work in conventional jobs. They may not have the same struggles as many others in this community either. There are people coming to Steamboat who have made the choice to make this their home, to embrace our city as theirs. I often wonder how the residents felt when I moved here twenty years ago, when I was young and wild, and probably disrupting the culture they believed was so precious.
Every year, some of our friends move from this valley and new folks take their place. This year, there appears to be more animosity toward newcomers who don’t look like you or me. This is what troubles me. We regularly hear that we should allow diversity, equity and inclusion to be a part of our communal life. Yet there seems to be selectiveness when we apply these values. No matter how an individual or family has come to be in Steamboat, we should be welcoming, non-judgmental and hopeful for new opportunities, friendships and mutual benefits brought to our town.
Transplants bring innovation, philanthropy, partnerships and family. When I moved to Steamboat, it was only supposed to be for three to five years. Instead, I met my husband, and we have had the good fortune to raise our family here. I have changed employment multiple times and have grown and appreciated each path I’ve traveled. It is through this growth that I’ve been able to embrace Steamboat in the present and enjoy the memories I’ve made here in the past.
Steamboat has and will continue to offer many people a wonderful future that will likewise enhance the community for all of us. This community has had great success lifting up those who are in need. But there are still so many who struggle. We all have a responsibility to take care of those who are not as fortunate as the rest of us. We need to continue to practice inclusion.
I ask that each of us take note, personally, how we have treated others we have encountered throughout this past year. Have we judged someone too soon based on their profession, financial status, race, sexual orientation, skill set? Can we be better? Will the next person we meet who is new to this city or whom we have never met become a life-long friend?
As Bob Dylan wrote:
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’!“
Heather Sloop represents District III on Steamboat Springs City Council.
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