Springboards for more springboards by Evan La Ruffa

"This just in..." is a phrase we hear every day. It both relates to the insanity of our 24 hour news cycle, and the rapidly increasing pace at which the universe expands and reveals itself. As we think we have the full picture, there's more to consider.

In that light, conclusions are really just springboards for more springboards.

And that's precisely the suspicion held by those of us who'd rather not ask the next question. We're timid in the face of uncertainty. We fear the possibility of receiving more than we bargained for.

But if we understand that we'll never have the whole picture, we automatically make our work more focused and our lives more practical. We can look at everything as a test in which we're open to the results, as opposed to hellbent on proving something.

Being willing to ask a question entails being prepared for the answer, but if springboards lead to more springboards, we risk a lot less.

And we stay on our feet.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge by Evan La Ruffa

In college, I took a course with Professor Mike Klein that helped form and cement my views on American equality through deep learning, shared stories, and a visit to Selma, Alabama. His course about the Civil Rights Movement was something I feel every American should have the chance to experience. When we visited Selma, we worked with the community, participated in service projects, and bonded with people who shared our deep belief in equality, justice, and living up to our creed.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was THE location of the culmination of the Voting Rights movement, and the events of that day, March 7th, 1965, became one of the keynote actions that helped swing the tide to achieve equal voting rights for Black Americans.

(Don't let people tell you rallying behind a cause by taking to the streets doesn't do anything.)

A few classmates and I got up one morning, went for a walk, walked over to that bridge and watched the sun skip off the river. The silence of the morning gave way to songs we sang together, and I thought to myself about how places have their own energy.

It's an experience I'll clearly never forget, but it's also a testament to collective power, belief, and action.

No matter where we go or who we are, we're all regularly presented with chances to be the change we wish to see in the world.

What will be your next chance to speak up? Will you take it?

7 people doing cool shit by Evan La Ruffa

These people are all charting new territory. They show their colors, differentiate, embrace their unique perspective, and build cool shit that satisfies their thirst for life while making incredibly important contributions to the world.

You should know who these people are. Ev-approved.

AJ & Melissa Leon - these two are the badass couple behind Misfit Inc., the 'professional troublemakers.' I was familiar with their work before meeting them a year or so ago, and am constantly inspired by their ambition, dedication, and focus on social issues, equal access, and creative models for everything from community development to software. They do it all... at an incredibly high level.

Levi Baer - this guy is a dynamo. An educator, a speaker, a game maker & a dude who keeps your entire orbit more positive & potent. I'm lucky to collaborate with him regularly and am so thrilled about the ways he engages his students, friends, and colleagues in raising our collective game by communicating & building more collaboratively & openly.

Kamilah Rashied - she's a quadruple threat. A curator, community builder, a SHero, and an activist, it's been my pleasure to get to know this incredibly talented woman over the past few months. She's helping the Art Institute evolve their Community Outreach in the most incredible of ways, and her dedication to art, Chicago, and the way we collectively weave the two together is truly inspiring.

Chad Little & Leonard Hollander  - the dudes behind Arbor Projects, the restaurant, cafe, and bar located next to IPaintMyMind Gallery in the Green Exchange building. Their creativity and love for all things culinary keeps their space and offerings continually full of experimentation, innovation, and most importantly, amazing flavors.

Jeffrey Davis - a poet, a creative businessman and the head honcho of Tracking Wonder which helps authors brand & launch their books, Jeffrey is one of the most heart-centered, gracious, creative, and intelligent people I have ever known. I've known him for 3 years now after meeting at Camp GLP and it's always a blast to see him every summer & pick up a bit of his juju.

If you're ever in touch, let them know that I think they're awesome.