It is easy to be the center of a universe of your own creation. We do it every day, with a word, a glance, an action, from the most powerful leader to the least advantaged. Each of us can find a way to control some measure of our life; every one of us can recenter our lives, finding there a peace, a way to cope now and forward.
It is far more difficult to create a center in a universe, to fashion a point within so many divergent and discordant worlds that gathers energy and focus and offers a way forward, in community and connection, that endeavors to build a better place: to discover the best possible way for the most possible individuals.
By focusing on the world of Mississippi and Mississippians, PORTICO has always aspired to achieve both. (Leaving of course any conversation about the center of the universe to faith and philosophy and science...) We have believed that by acknowledging the uniqueness of our place and the genius of our people, it would be quite evident that our accomplishments have moved this world upward and brought it together. The music, words and images of our artists; the discoveries, inventions and advances of our scientists and entrepreneurs; the compassion, bravery and valor of our true leaders...a Mississippian, and in countless instances neighbors we know, have changed our universe simply by applying themselves...their talent, their vision, their audacity... to their sphere.
We are not alone. We don’t exist in solitary vacuums, each without impact. Words have meaning; actions have repercussion: love and prejudice, respect and fear, consid- eration and bias...challenge and caution. Our lives matter, not just as a journey from birth to death, but as one to trust, empathy, and democratic ideals. The communities, geographical, physical and emotional, we create today, must stand as the foundation, solid and nimble, for those of tomorrow.
We build families with a view toward and a commitment to the better world of tomorrow. We design neighborhoods and establish communities and recognize culture with the same noble intent. We shape and develop opportunity. We clear pathways and encourage passage. We both expect and revel in change and discovery. We seek local importance and global echo, and vice versa.
Mississippi has been at the crossroads of the greatest challenges of America, and our voices have provided the greatest hope. I have always believed that the pages of PORTICO, in words and images, could capture what makes Mississippi a home for all of us, a destination for so many, and an inspiration for a world seeking understanding; for I believe that the stories of our people, written from their imaginations and their deeds, and the pictures of our places, framed by reality and vision, could explain our place. And in that explanation, both expand and connect our universe.