My second workshop, Advocating for Change in Your Community, focused on its title. I chose to take this workshop because Tremon[s]ters are stubborn even for Cleveland and when two people have opposing viewpoints on a neighborhood issue it is often hard to mediate or even gain something that has the appearance of consensus. Effective change-advocacy is therefore and essential part of community building. My bullets from this session:
• The #1 problem worldwide that groups think they have is gaining more resident involvement. We learned that this phrase is far too ill-defined to provide much meaning. Often a core groups of residents are the change agents in a community, so numbers don’t equal greater involvement or effect advocacy.
• Involvement should construct and implement shared vision and works as a two way street. Community leaders shouldn’t merely try to get residents to come to them, but should seek out the residents and talk to them on their own terms about their own issues.
• Exploring your neighborhood and informing your neighbors and even others outside of the ‘hood of the positive and negative aspects of your community can slowly build networks that will develop organically, over time, into powerful change agents.
• Meetings should be structed to attract people, and ill-organized meetings and meetings but not doings are the quickest way to lose change advocacy and resident involvement.
• Deseminate information! Share! Be your own marketer for the neighborhood; keeping information to yourself harms the community.
A lot of these things are common sense, but how often are they practiced or remembered?
I also learned about zillow.com which can let you find out all kinds of information on housing prices and housing types in your neighborhood.