That's Cool, (Tom Kohler)!

written by Tom KohlerChatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy

The phrase “that’s cool” stands the test of time. People have been saying it for decades. You hear it in the Sentient Bean, you see it on Facebook…You read it in Bis, the weekly business journal, coming from the lips of a Harold Yellin, partner at the Hunter Maclean law firm … “That’s cool!”

And Savannah is a cool place…

Savannah is a cool place and a lot of cool things are happening. This month we have the Tara Feis, StopOver Music Fest, St. Patrick’s Day and the Savannah Music Festival. We just had the Book Festival. It’s all cool.

And Savannah is full of cool people…

People who do cool things like design web sites, and run coffee shops, and create and cook great food, and build things and create and connect people and ideas and profess things at SCAD and AASU and SSU, and on and on and on…

But is it cool that…
Some folks are never out and about and seen at the cool things that go on in Savannah?
Or that some folks are out of sight, and out of our minds as fellow citizens?
Or that some folks are seen as clients of the human service systems and not as fellow citizens?
Or that some people are controlled by people and human service systems that seem to be more interested in profit than in being responsive, progressive and compassionate?

Want Savannah to be a cooler place?
Savannah will be a cooler place when more and more people who would not ordinarily know one another get connected and start caring about one another.

Savannah will be a cooler place when rejection and segregation are challenged and changed by people who care about Savannah.

Savannah will be a cooler place when people are willing to speak up and say “That’s NOT cool” when they see someone forced to live behind the wall of difference.
Savannah will be a cooler place when people come toward one another rather than run from “the other.”

Citizen advocates can help Savannah become a cooler place. Less segregation, less separation, less desperation. More welcome, more solidarity, more friendship, more spokesmanship, more caring about what happens to someone else. More showing up, more standing up and saying “This is not good enough any more, we have to do different and better.”

Citizen advocates can help Savannah become a cooler place! Start small, go somewhere cool together. Look cool together. Expect the cool people of Savannah to be cool with seeing the world be a little more welcoming and available to everyone.


Thank you, Tom, for this reflection and invitation. It can apply to just about any city. Findlay Market, Vine Street and OTR, Oakley square and Eden Park and the Purple People Bridge. Skyline chili, Newport on the Levee, Playhouse in the Park. Arts. Culture. Bengals. (Okay, well at least the Reds anyway). Such cool places in our 52  cool Neighborhoods. Over 2 million cool people.

Or somehow, is it true that with all these cool things to do, all these cool places to be, that we forget or become too cool for friendship, for spending time with our neighbors, for getting to know other’s stories? For hanging out with people who aren’t as “cool” as People magazine or a fancy title and a nice car might suggest?

Here’s something Cool you can do in the next few weeks, show up to one of the Connections gatherings:

Wednesday, March 20  6:30-8p  Bread Basket & Pastry Co.  3218 W. Galbraith Rd.

Thursday, March 21   6:30-8p  European Cafe, 9450 Montgomery Rd.

Thursday, March 28  6:30-8p Oakley Library, 4033 Gilmore Ave.

Tuesday, April 2 7-8:30p Cherry Grove UMC, 1428 Eight Mile Rd.

Monday, April 8   6:00-8p   Higher Ground Coffee House, 3721 Harrison Ave

katie bachmeyer