Community and Neighborhood Engagement
On Wednesday, February 21, I was happy to chair my first Community and Neighborhood Engagement Committee Meeting of City Council. The other members of this group include Councilwoman Taneika Hill, Councilwoman Charlene Mancuso and Councilwoman Christine MacIntosh. Councilwoman Stephana Caviness and Councilman John Wojtila also attended the meeting.
The meeting started out with an explanation about what I hope this committee will accomplish over time. I introduced three YouTube videos by Peter Block, author of Community, The Structure of Belonging, to introduce a new way of thinking about community engagement.
Peter Block speaks in terms of transformation rather than simply making improvements. He encourages leaders and citizens to look at things in an entirely different way to create a future that is distinct from the past. Block encourages leaders to create conditions for civic engagement by using the power they hold to convene and define the conversation for people when they gather. When leaders invite, people often come. That is one of the greatest powers they have, gathering people.
Citizens are encouraged to view themselves as owners and co-creators rather than consumers. Residents that live in a neighborhood know better than any outsider what needs to change, what has been tried before and what may work. The power to create the future we desire requires all of us to choose to be accountable. To be accountable, among other things, means you act as an owner and co-creator of whatever it is you want to improve.
Working together, citizens, city government and businesses, we can build the social fabric of our neighborhoods and transform the separation within our communities into connectedness much like neighborhoods of the past. Neighbors getting to know each other and working for the common good can make a huge difference in Euclid. You don’t have to own a home to take ownership of a neighborhood. The neighborhood you live in is your neighborhood. What do you want it to look like? How do you want people to treat each other? What would make it a more desirable place to live?
I look forward to working with anyone that is interested in creating the future we want to see, one that is markedly different from the past. If you are interested in hearing more about this different way to be engaged in the community, I encourage you to come to the next Community and Neighborhood Engagement meeting on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Euclid City Hall.
Vice President of Moore Counseling and Mediation Services, Inc., Councilman for Euclid Ward 2 and Associate Minister at Lake Shore Christian Church