At the 2022 Cradle to Career Network Convening last month, we gathered with changemakers, community leaders, youth, experts, government leaders and more to explore how we can unite around our shared vision and get to transformational change for kids across the country.
The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network already reaches one in seven young people ages 0–24. Our work to change lives by changing systems is gaining momentum and becoming a catalytic force in an emerging field of building civic infrastructure — the structures that connect people, ideas and resources to make communities stronger.
This work requires all of us — bring others along through shared values, common goals and humility.
Just as building materials are the core of physical infrastructure, trusting relationships are at the heart of civic infrastructure.
“It’s collaborative work. … We have to go together,” shared StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz in her opening remarks at the convening. “Not only as a unique and distinct network and movement but as part of something much bigger — a field ecosystem that is emerging as a result of all of the impact you’ve achieved over the past decade. That’s the future of this incredible movement — this impactful Network — and all that unites us as we face what’s ahead.”
The convening explored what it means to be united across differences, and our speakers agreed that leading with values is a place to find connection.
“It’s not your gender, it’s not your sexual orientation, not what nation you’re from. It’s as a human being, are you willing to choose integrity, honesty, decency, generosity, compassion and service to others? That’s why we’re here,” said speaker Dr. Cornel West, the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary.
When conversations and consensus building become difficult, a path back to connection lies in what we value. For the Cradle to Career Network, that means returning to the uncompromisable conviction that a child’s potential should not be dictated by race, ethnicity, zip code or circumstance. Read more from the 2022 Cradle to Career Network Convening in the full post on Medium.