I enjoyed last week's Leadership Tour of a revitalizing region. And I loved the fact that the revitalizing region was our own.
Most of the presentations were interesting and informative. The overviews of Downtown's progress and growth of plant science studies here were eye-opening for many participants.
I was puzzled, however, by the assertions of a speaker from Boston who suggested that his city's race relations become a model for our own. I hope that they do not.
While the City of St. Louis still has plenty of room to improve itself (and the obligation to pick up the pace), it has - demonstrably - moved further past many of the divisions of class and geography that still characterize Boston. The integration of many City of St. Louis neighborhoods encourages the casual interactions among ethnic groups that spell the ends of racism and classism.
According to a Census analysis by the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, the City of St. Louis is far more integrated block-by-block than is Boston - or, for that matter, than are Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago.
In thousands of backyard discussions about trash pickups, neighborhood watches, garden plants, and pickup baseball games under the streetlights, many City residents are lowering their own barriers of prejudice.
Next time, we'll invite the Bostonian to a block party.