The Power Of The Tribe

Catch the magic every Wednesday morning.

Do you watch Delray Morning Live?

The 30-minute show is on Facebook and YouTube and you can watch it every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

If you miss it, you can catch the archived version and watch at your convenience.

I like to have it on while I work. I find the show—hosted by Amanda Perna and Jamael Stewart— to be fun and informative. Amanda and Jamael are terrific hosts—as good as any pair you’ll find on the networks—and they have great chemistry.

I was watching recently and was struck by the comments made by one of their guests Tim Charron, a singer-songwriter who lives in Delray. Mr. Charron is what they call a multi-hyphenate: he sings, he writes, he runs a booking agency etc. etc. He’s a talented and busy man.

Anyway, what struck me were comments about living and working in Delray. He talked about how the city is attracting creative people who like the vibe of modern-day Delray. He also said the best thing about Delray are the people who live and work here.

“I found my tribe in Delray,” he said.

How cool is that?
His comments stayed with me and got me thinking.

I know many people who can say something similar. They moved here and found their tribe. In other words, they found community.

You can’t put a price tag on community because it’s priceless. When you find your tribe, you’ve found your home and when you’ve found your home it’s a big moment in life.

A few years back, the author Peter Kageyama came to Old School Square as part of a lecture series. Mr. Kageyama wrote a book called “For the Love of Cities.”

It’s a great book. The premise is simple but profound; if you create a place that people love, you’ll succeed. If cities engage in a relationship with their citizens, and citizens begin to consider their emotional connections with their places, we open new possibilities for social and economic development by including the most powerful of motivators—the human heart.

That makes a lot of sense. Because when you fall in love, you commit and when you commit, magic happens.

Tim Charron seems to have fallen in love with Delray. Many of the guests on Delray Morning Live feel the same way and the hosts themselves are big-time cheerleaders for our village by the sea. There’s value in what they do—because positivity builds civic pride which is a very powerful asset; maybe the most powerful asset a city can have.

I’m also intrigued by the group Friends of Delray, which has done a dozen or so video podcasts covering a variety of subjects of importance to our community. The podcast—available on You Tube—keeps getting better and better. The latest edition focuses on micro communal housing, which seeks to solve a pressing issue, where to house people making less than $35,000 a year. One in five people in Delray fit in that category.

Kurt Jetta, who has a doctorate in economics, is the entrepreneur seeking to tackle this challenge. I’ve gotten to know Dr. Jetta and had the privilege of touring one of his micro communal housing projects on Northwest 5th Ave. I was struck by his passion, his analytical mind, and his commitment to Delray Beach.

Again, another talented person attracted to our community and its possibilities.

I don’t want to end this upbeat blog with a negative sentiment, but the other idea that occurred to me after I watched the Friends of Delray podcast and Delray Morning Live was the notion that our often toxic politics doesn’t match our reality.

Recently, I got a text message from a friend from my old political days saying she would rather “eat nails than work again in Delray politics.”


But I get it.

Still,  even on this front there’s good news. The recent March election may have ushered in a new era of civility, collaboration and civic engagement that has been missing for quite some time. The operative word in that sentence is ‘may’…it may have.

Civic engagement is a muscle that was once strong in this town, but it has atrophied from a lack of use; too many people have been made to feel marginalized.

We need to bring visioning back, we need to involve citizens in the great challenges we face: housing, climate change, how to provide services efficiently, education, economic development and the list goes on. I believe the city commission believes in citizen engagement, transparent decision making and the power of building community. Now they have take actions that support all three of those pillars.

There’s promise in the air and everywhere I go people are talking about the new energy, the lack of fear and the possibilities of returning to what we used to call the Delray Way, which simply meant we listened to each other, worked to involve the community and valued compromise. Not exactly rocket science, but it built a town that attracts a lot of cool people.

We veered from that simple formula, and it has cost all of us, a whole lot. More than can be quantified. But it didn’t kill the town. Delray has changed, so has everything. It’s a different world. But the heart still beats.

Still, progress and positivity require effort and vigilance. More people need to be engaged. More people need to vote. The low voter turnout in Delray is embarrassing and does not reflect a healthy and engaged community. Our politics should reflect our town. It used too…it can again.

Yes, there’s lots of work to do.

Building community requires effort and passion. But it’s worth it.

I see a lot of green shoots sprouting all over town: there’s the Concours D’ Elegance car show run by Max Zengage, a young man on the rise. There’s Community Greening, a non-profit, planting trees all over town and there’s the EJS Project mentoring our children and hosting a Community Block Party enjoyed by many.. I also see artists and entrepreneurs finding a home here. They and others know that this is a good place to invest their time, money, and passion.

And if they don’t stop believing…anything is possible.



  1. Loved this Jeff. Great foundation to begin our reunion with

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