December 1, 2023
It has been a while since I have written and hope this letter finds you well. Thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve you – I am looking forward to another term as your mayor. As we fully immerse ourselves in the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the importance of hospitality and acceptance in our community.
Willkommen. A simple word, written in German, and proudly inscribed or embossed on signs in our Bavarian Village. Welcome. This is what we do, especially now during the Christmas holiday season. We are, after all, home to The Village of Lights: Christmastown.
While the holidays in Leavenworth bring moments that are “merry and bright”, the world continues to navigate through challenging times. The recent wars overseas and continued violence across our nation have brought to light the worst of humanity. Dehumanization, a universal tool in warfare, is being applied on a global scale. This process of differentiating between “us” and “them” has consequences. It can lead to discrimination, violence, and a lack of empathy for those who are seen as “other”. It’s a cycle that is difficult to break, but not impossible. The saying goes, “the surest way to destroy your enemy is to make them your friend.” We must strive to see humanity in all people, regardless of our differences, beliefs, political viewpoints, or religious affiliations. Because how we treat each other matters.
Even in our small, well-lit corner of the world, it is easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the magnitude of these conflicts. It is important to remember that even the simplest acts of acceptance, warm words of welcome, or the ability to see another perspective that differs from our own CAN make a difference. As a town that was dubbed a “Miracle Town” by author Ted Price, we have a unique opportunity to lead by example and show the world what true hospitality looks like. It is the heart of our Bavarian trademark.
We may not be able to solve the world’s problems, but we are able to enact big change through small acts right here, right now, in this community. By embracing a mindset of radical kindness, we can create a ripple effect. Radical kindness is the act of going above and beyond to show compassion and empathy towards others, even when it’s not expected or required. It’s about making a conscious effort to be kind in all situations, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable.
I encourage you to join me in embracing the spirit of hospitality our Bavarian Village was founded upon. Let’s not just say, “Willkommen in Leavenworth!” Let’s show the world what radical kindness looks like and make our community a shining example of acceptance and kindness and live up to the name “Miracle Town”.
You never know how far-reaching your actions may be or the impact they will have. So, let’s continue to act first and foremost with hospitality and kindness and watch the ripples spread.
Carl J. Florea, Mayor
(509) 548-5275 ext. 125