HEART OF STEELcity is about the place I live. My home. I’ve lived here for years with tentative ideas and skepticism. It seemed hard to get projects off the ground, to find supporters and like-minded people, and a move away seemed like the best option to seek inspiration.
I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I said I was always this optimistic about the Lehigh Valley. As a resident for the past nine years, while I always felt it’s potential, it’s only now that I have learned to fall in love with it again. This valley has a past saturated with greatness and contributions that influenced American history. (If you’ve ever been on a Ferris wheel, you may be surprised to know that the first ever Ferris Wheel, built for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, was constructed with the steel made in Bethlehem, PA.)
Time can tear a place down just like it can tear us down. But that lets us reassess, scoop up everything we’ve ever done, and begin a reconstruction. If you’ve been to the site of the old steelmills, you know that inside the haunting empty brick structures wild grasses bloom. There is character in the buildings that still stand, though sometimes crumbling, a testament to where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
Over the past few months, as I have worked every day to be the best version of myself and while humbly accepting my flaws and working to change them, the same transformation happened in this place, as well. Creative, positive people seemed to storm the streets at the same moment. Young entrepreneurs are taking risks and building successful businesses. Artists are finding ways to share what they do with others, outside of formal galleries, creating beauty where there was none. Musicians are collaborating, communities in the truest sense of the word are growing, and there seems to be an optimism shared by everyone.
The Lehigh Valley has 635,000 people in it. And you make 635,001.
I meet people every day that are doing something to better their lives and bring beauty to this place simply by living in it. And those are who this site is for: the do-ers. Good intentions are fine, but actions create change.
This is my home, and it’s yours too. We’re all in this together.
– Jaime K