Ribbon cuttings. kick-off events, and celebrations… These are the common measures and observations of progress, but on a colonized island nation ravaged by unrelenting financial and natural disaster over the past 4 years – progress looks different.
Our stateside American culture is relatively comfortable, which makes progress something that can be defined and planned – progress is studied and it is achieved.
But how is progress made in Puerto Rico when there is no stability off which to develop? I am not saying there is no construction, no planning, no achievements, but the starting point – the direction and the trajectory are fragmented, silo’d, and reactionary.
My working definition of progress for this essay is: to move forward on a macro-level, for the common good.
In the above working definition I am overt with including the term common good, because we are talking about a culture and a nation – not just progress for one individual. That distinction is important in this essay, because for an oppressed and marginalized population progress must mean moving forward for all and not just for some.
When identity on a macro-level is pushed down by control boards and external investors, often being ‘pushed forward’ is deemed progress. I want to challenge that paradigm.
Over the last 2+ years I have been developing an organization that is a channel, not a directive – an opportunity to connect and share, nothing forced or pushed, just available. This organization challenges the concept of scale and focuses rather on impact – individual impact.
We recognize that before progress for the common good can be achieved, that first there must be a respect and understanding of what the common good even means. This respect and understanding must first come from within and then radiate out. The goal of Power2 is to be a channel for those who need, are ready, or are just curious about energy independence and the empowerment that comes as a direct result. We listen, we understand and most importantly we respect the hardships, challenges, opportunities, passions and successes that everyone goes through in their life. We understand that ‘what you do’ is optimized once you are ‘able to do’. We bring technical solutions that expand what you are able to do, through the form of reliable energy, community and education.
We have been reaching out to various individuals, communities, and organizations to better understand the various situations present. What we get to see while doing this mission are individuals, communities and organizations working through the complexities of defining and living into their respective purposes. What we get to see is are the individual voices that are coming together to define the common good, the common themes and understandings that resonate through each of us.
So while we normally look for progress in terms of excess, comfort or celebration, I am learning to see the progress that brings us together to define the common good and often this type of progress is less of a spectacle and more felt than seen.