Building empathy is one of the most difficult tasks communities face. Simply put, we’re often not programmed for it. Humans have spent the vast majority of their millennia here on Earth in tightly-knit communities where social norms and even survival frequently depended on us making quick judgments about those around us, in order to sort individuals into our “in-group” or an “out-group”. This “tribalism”, however, is not simply based on racial, ethnic, religious, or linguistic divides. It also plays out in our (relatively) much more diverse and integrated modern-day communities. And few issues in urban American communities divide us more than the fault lines around law enforcement. To some, police and sheriff’s officials embody the best values of our communities: security, order, and community involvement. To others, they represent the remnants of our country’s centuries-long infatuation with racial oppression.
As our communities grow and become more diverse, local government agencies are combining new and tested techniques to engage their residents. In the traditional model of community engagement, agencies relied on public meetings to get feedback from residents. While this can still be an effective means of engagement for some populations, many residents are missed in the process. Similarly, as governments have embraced new technology to bridge the gap, there is still no substitute for face-to-face interactions.
So what is the next step? How do you reach as many residents as possible in a meaningful way? Continue Reading
While Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) has been around awhile, I think the stories that illustrate the concepts and structure are very important.
I just ran across this nice video from Savannah’s experience with two neighborhoods. https://youtu.be/6rbRAQLbeRM
In under twelve minutes, the story covers from the 1970s to today: the decline and revitalization of two neighborhoods. Most importantly the story is mainly about the members of two neighborhoods in Savannah, with less attention to what city employees did or did not do.
Many of us were following the Facebook hearings this April in which nearly 100 members of Congress questioned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The hearings came after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, accessed information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
While the outrage focused primarily on consumer privacy, it also elevated interest in Facebook’s impact on civil discourse and domestic institutions around the world. We are learning more about the addictive nature and manipulative strategies of Facebook and other social media. Continue Reading
During the Fall of 2017 I had the opportunity to spend the semester in Washington DC with 16 Wake Forest students. I taught two political science courses on law and policy, and the students interned four days a week with various governmental and non-governmental organizations.
In an earlier post I wrote about the potential for internships to provide important civic lessons as well as providing the development of professional skills and experience. Two of the students worked for Councilwoman Mary Cheh on the DC Council, giving them the unique opportunity to experience local government in the unusual context of the national capital. I asked Abigail McLean (pictured above) one of those students, to reflect on her experience. Abigail, who will graduate in May, was recently hired by Councilwoman Cheh’s office to serve on her staff.
What interested you about this particular internship opportunity?
Abigail: The year before my internship at the D.C. Council, I interned for a congressional office on Capitol Hill. I really enjoyed this experience, but one of the things that frustrated me was the speed at which legislation moved. I could spend several days working on a project, only to never see or hear anything about it again because it simply takes so long to move legislation through. Since the D.C. Council is a smaller governing body in charge of a much smaller jurisdiction, I knew that I could contribute more to the legislative process and experience more firsthand.
The City of Concord has one of the longest-running citizens’ academies in North Carolina, or even the United States, in its Concord 101 program, which has completed 16 sessions and reached over 300 participants. Since inception, the program has largely maintained the original format, yet adapted to expand both the content covered and the number of participants involved each year. Continue Reading
Gloria was worried about her blood pressure but with no insurance she didn’t know where to turn. Her neighbor said, “Go to Mustard Seed Community Health” just 3 blocks from her apartment. Dr. Mulberry listened to her and explained the benefits of nutrition and physical activity so now Gloria’s blood pressure is manageable.
Graphic created by Wake County staff and is consistent with their efforts to communicate simply with their public.
Our understanding of government is shaped by how frequently we interact with it and how much we understand its role in society. This time of year, we’re keenly aware of what we pay in taxes but don’t always think about other government interactions. There’s a good chance public sector employees collect your trash and recycling; the street you took to work today is owned and operated by a government department; and in many places public employees recruit new jobs to the community.
This blog post was written by Becca Baas, learn more about Becca below.
Far too often we hear about abused or neglected children – sometimes it’s the kind of story that makes you cringe, other times it breaks your heart. I worked at Onslow County Partnership for Children (OCPC), where reducing childhood abuse and neglect has always been an important part of our mission. Now, a new movement in prevention is changing our perspective on prevention. We are developing a broader approach to address the experiences and circumstances associated with abuse and neglect.