Chris Bowen is the Chairman of the Tampa Innovation Partnership’s Executive Board and Chief Development Strategist for rithm AT UPTOWN

As Chair of the Tampa !p Executive Board, as well as the lead developer of rithm AT UPTOWN, it is as clear to me as ever that the promise and potential of Tampa’s Uptown District are alive and well! The destructive actions from over the weekend that temporarily overshadowed otherwise peaceful protests taking place here and throughout the nation may have taken the spotlight from the positive transformation that is taking place here, but our important work together carries on.

With these recent discouraging events, some may be doubtful or worried about Uptown’s future and tempted to throw in the towel. Using that logic, should we give up on Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Miami, Orlando, NYC, Denver, Austin, Boston, Seattle, the Silicon Valley, and the thousands of other communities that also experienced violence and destruction along with peaceful and legitimate protests over the past few weeks? That sounds ridiculous! Right?

This is a significant moment for all of us. We must learn from it and become better because of it. What better place to do that than in what is already the Tampa Bay region’s largest and best-equipped Innovation District…and we’re just getting started! The really big breakthroughs and monumental moments for the people of Uptown are all just up ahead.

In science, we know that it takes countless failures to achieve just one breakthrough, and, many times, it’s actually the failures, the significant setbacks, that lead us to the biggest and most impactful breakthroughs yielding extraordinary and previously unknown knowledge and opportunities.

In life, we all know that it’s very possible we may experience pain and unspeakable sorrow at some point down the road, and at that moment, we can let it destroy us – we can lay down and quit right there – or, we can put our arms around one another, take a moment to regroup, internalize what just happened, commit to a path ahead, and take those next steps forward together toward a better tomorrow.

Finding innovative and meaningful ways to build a better community, which will become a model for the rest of America, through leveraging every ounce of this extraordinary Uptown District Innovation Community is exactly what Uptown is all about! We’re not going anywhere but forward.