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There are so many feelings going through my head after news that Boston City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo announced his candidacy for mayor, making him the first Latino in the city’s history to run for this post.

The strongest feeling, of course, is one of pride and joy. Arroyo is a Boston boricua, the son-in-law of Hector Luis Acevedo, a former mayor of San Juan. Having lived and worked in my adopted home city since 1986, yesterday’s announcement marked another turning point that Boston is indeed a changing city, one that is changing for the better.

Felix Arroyo

I have rarely felt like this during my time in the self-proclaimed Hub of the Universe, since to me, Boston has always been a city of separate neighborhoods that rarely get connected. The city’s ugly racial past of the 1970s, based on a failed social experiment, lingered for a while—yes, even on the Harvard campus in the mid-1980s. There was this unspoken rule in Boston that the city’s neighborhoods should never mix. The city was segregated: Bostonians would converge in the city’s downtown center for work each day, but when it was time to go home, different groups of people when to their different neighborhoods. Don’t cause any problems. Just know your place.

That image of Boston, of course, has changed, especially with the city’s perceptions of Latinos. I have always credited this to the Red Sox. I have been going to Fenway Park since 1986, and as much as I have always loved it, I truly fell madly in love with it when Pedro Martínez started pitching for the team in the late 1990s. The atmosphere whenever Pedro pitched was magical, but it also brought out so many fans who would have never gone to a Red Sox game before Pedro pitched. Spanish conversations became more common in the stands, Dominican flags flew, and when I heard 440’s “Guavaberry” over the stadium’s speakers for the first time, I knew that a another real part of the city, one that was rarely seen inside one of the city’s most beloved gathering places, was starting to show up.

Then, David Ortiz became a legend in 2004, and all of a sudden it was cool to be Latino in Boston. The Big Papi Effect did more for Boston Latinos than almost anything else. We had arrived.

Arroyo’s news is just the latest example. Boston’s Latino population continues to grow rapidly, and it is part of the reason that Boston is now a “majority-minority city,” which means that “53 percent of residents are of a non-white race/ethnicity.” I do believe that Arroyo will attract new Latino voters, no doubt. But don’t take my word for it, I will let my good friend and fellow WGBH Radio contributor Marcela García explain. Last night, Marcela talked Arroyo on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” show.

Arroyo’s bid matters. Is it on the same level as when the city’s Irish population earned their political stripes at the turn of the century, culminating in the mayoral reign of James Michael Curley? I would argue yes. Granted, Arroyo might not win this year (it is going to be a tough race), but if Boston Latinos want to be part of the city’s political structure, they need to start somewhere. Arroyo could be that.

Yes, Marcela is right that Arroyo would be the first person to shun the “first Latino candidate” label, but he will still energize people. And the other guest who disagreed with her, Jarrett Berrios (coincidentally a Harvard classmate of mine), misses the point. The city now had its first Latino candidate for mayor and Latino voters should just worry about the issues and think beyond ethnicity politics? Sorry, Jarrett, that argument doesn’t work. You seriously don’t think that ethnicity politics no longer occurs in Boston? Do I need to bring you to a South Boston union hall to show you that it still does?

Sure, Arroyo still has to prove himself, but let’s put this all into perspective. This is history.

“I am a son of Boston. I love my city. I love Boston. I believe in ­Boston because I know that by working together we can and we will move Boston forward.”

Spoken like a true Bostonian. Who also happens to be Puerto Rican and Latino. To me, that is a winning combination, and no one can kill my buzz this morning.

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“Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.” Paulo Coehlo

When this blog started in 2008 (you know, when Twitter was still fun and Facebook was still cool), the online world was a playground of possibilities.

Connections were made, real friendships were started, opportunities came and went.

Relationships started and relationships fizzled.

Of those fizzled relationships, some just gradually disappeared amicably and some ended nastily.

Yet many relationships endured and got even deeper. I could not even begin to list how many people I have met online (and then in real life) who are as much a part of my life now than my fanatical love of bad sports teams from Boston.

Fast forward to 2012.

Social media has gone “mainstream” and everyone is offering advice and opinions. Brands are paying attention (which is both bad and good). Now everyone has the way to “succeed” in social media, to share the WAY that will work for you. But the fact is simple: there is no RIGHT WAY, there is no ONE WAY, there is no WINNING FORMULA to succeed, no matter what you use social media for.

The ONLY TRUE WAY to find that success is this: never, never, never stop being yourself. Never ever lose your passion of why you do what you do in the first place. Be real, be true, be helpful, be giving, be authentic, and be transparent.

Which leads me to the point of this blog: don’t ever give up. For example, if the world is questioning the fact that you are just a “crab in a bucket,” go build your own bucket and find like-minded crabs. Walk away from the negative energy and move on. Use that block feature on Twitter and Facebook, it’s ok, we all use it. Stop worrying about what others say about you and just focus on what you can control. By being who you truly are, others who see you true essence will begin to show up. And they will stay. Those who don’t will never care, so why waste your time trying to win them over?

We are at a momentous moment in the world’s history, where 140 characters or one photo can impact change. The old business guard is freaking out because the one-way world (me have product/me market product/you buy product) is over. Now the business model is two-way (me have product, so?, me want you to buy product/no, because your product sucks, I am going to make my own product/ok, how can I help?). Everyone and everything, from the big Fortune 500 company to the blogger in some corner of the world, are on the same playing field.

That is the crossroads where we are at right now. There will be those who see social media as a logical extension of how business has been done for centuries. They are the mainstream, the safe ones, the ones who will tell you, “Hey, don’t rock the boat because if you do, you will bring others down with you. You’ll be a crab in a bucket.” Then there are those who see social media as the NEW WAY, and it will crush the OLD WAY eventually. Those who thought safely will wonder what happened. Those who didn’t, who created their own buckets and invited their favorite crabs, will be leading the charge in the paradigm shift.

My dear friend, Sarah Robinson (she of the original posse), wrote a piece last year that has resonated with me the last few months. Called, “Crabs in Bucket,” Sarah tells of the time she tweeted Paolo Coehlo after the great writer tweeted the quote at the top of this post. Let her words explain:

Fast forward to this morning. As I was drinking my coffee and perusing my twitter stream, and up pops this gem from @paulocoelho (He wrote The Alchemist, one of my all time favorite books): “Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.”

Maybe it was the early hour. Maybe it was my post-event mushy brain. I don’t know. But the minute I read Paulo’s tweet, I thought of those crabs in a bucket. So I sent him this tweet: “I’m thinking of crabs in a bucket. They always try to pull down the one who’s figured out how to escape.”

So now I’m thinking about the Escaping Mediocrity journey with this lens. There will always be people who will subtly or not so subtly try to keep us from escaping. Why? Because our escape threatens their mediocre existence. Pulling us down, sabotaging our efforts, picking apart our brilliant ideas – all of that keeps them feeling safe. And living undisturbed mediocre lives.

So what if we added a new piece to the crab mentality picture? Imagine a crab, or a group of crabs on the other side of the bucket building a ladder to aid your escape. They managed to crawl out of the bucket in spite of all the energetic attempts to pull them backwards. Because they’ve tasted freedom and they know your struggle, they are putting energy into aiding and abetting your escape.

I believe that for those of us determined to get out of the bucket, such a group exists. It may take some time to find them, but they are there, ready throw a safety rope over the edge and pull us out.

Start listening for them. Start looking for them. They are there. Reach just a little further and they’ll meet you at the edge of the bucket.

Escape the big bucket now. Go get your own bucket and fill it with the coolest crabs you know. Together, you can change the world.

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RELEASED TODAY

Whole Foods Market® opens its doors in Jamaica Plain

Store features include expansive bulk offerings, pizza oven and prepared foods

Jamaica Plain, Mass., (October 31, 2011) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), the world’s leading natural and organic supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, opened the doors of the newest location, in Jamaica Plain, today.

The store, which spans more than 13,700 square feet and employs 104 full and part time team members will offer the Jamaica Plain community access to the freshest and healthiest local, natural and organic products at an affordable price.

“We are so pleased to open our doors in Hyde Square. We have created a beautiful store that will be a great match for the Jamaica Plain community,” says Store Team Leader, Mike Walker. “It is particularly exciting for us to have the chance now to really show our neighbors what Whole Foods Market offers as responsible, active community partners.”

The new store, located at 413 Centre Street is the result of a complete renovation of the interior of the existing space. Modeled for energy efficiency, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain boasts a number of green technologies, including LED lighting and state of the art refrigeration systems. The parking lot, which offers 68 spaces, also has an electric car charging station as well as racks for 15 bikes and a self-service bike repair station.

No two Whole Foods Market stores are alike. Each store is designed to reflect the community it serves. Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain was designed to echo the vibrant culture of Hyde Square, while paying homage to the Googie style of architecture that makes the building so unique.

The products carried in Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain are also a reflection of the community. From locally produced to ethnically influenced selections, the shelves are stocked with affordably priced products that meet the company’s strict quality standards.

Along with the grocery, produce, meat, seafood, specialty, bakery and Whole Body departments, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers an expanded bulk department featuring a wide selection of beans, grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

For customers looking for convenience, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers a great variety of prepared foods, including a large salad bar and hot bar, as well as a pizza oven and Panini station.

“Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain is unlike any of our other stores,” says Walker. “We are so excited for longtime Whole Foods Market shoppers and the folks who haven’t ever had the opportunity to shop with us before, to come see what we have created just for them!”

Jamaica Plain Store Information:

Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain

Address: 413 Centre St. Jamaica Plain, MA

Phone: 617.553.5400

Hours of operation: 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. daily

 

 

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