The City We Want
A Peacemaking Project by Ohad K.
What is the injustice we are solving?
In the United States, a lack of civic engagement has allowed the birth of a government with an undeniably disappointing approval. Governments both federal and local operate with little oversight or involvement from the public, and then we have to pay the costs. The City We Want aims to teach voters and non-voters alike to be effective leaders and participants in their governments so they can affect positive change themselves.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Inattentive Government
we will address Low voter turnout, unsustained civic engagement, and low public participation
by Providing resources and public forums for residents to engage themselves in civil discourse. By offering people a chance to make their voice heard, we ensure they will have what they need to be involved in their government.
Our Project Plan:
- Increase knowledge of government activity
- Give residents an outlet for vocal expression of their concerns
- Teach residents to be leaders within their own community
We will increase my / our compassion by...
Setting my own feelings aside and listening to others; if I only use The City We Want to preach my own beliefs, I won't actually be helping anyone.
How will you show courage?
I will show courage by taking a leadership role in government advocacy before I'm even able to vote. People will (and do) scoff at me for
How will you collaborate with others?
I have been collaborating with local advocacy groups throughout Framingham, Massachusetts for months now. Our public forums have engaged several hundred residents already in fruitful discussions with experts in various facets of public policy, such as sustainability, local business, civics, education, and more.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
When I see people engaging in civic discourse from all areas of society and from all backgrounds, I know I will be making important strides in integrating all ideas into our discourse. Civics isn't about winning; it's about having fruitful discussions and allowing everyone a chance to make their voice heard.
- Establish more forums in a variety of locations and times of day
- Advertise said forums in a variety of outlets to engage as many people as possible
- Provide childcare services to families with small children so parents have an easier time participating
- Provide reimbursements for travel costs so that families in need don't have to strain themselves to participate
- Create a series of leadership workshops so residents can learn to lead in their own efforts
7 December 2017 13:31
8 December 2017 10:47
The mini-grant application process is also a space for you to get expert feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your (already very strong!) project. Please see the feedback on your project plan below:
This is a really wonderful project! You've done an incredible job of articulating some of the root causes of why government does not accurately represent the will of the people, and your project steps directly address those root causes by creating opportunities for people to become more engaged, regardless of their circumstances or resources in their lives. It can tell you have taken time to understand the injustice -- you recognize that a lack of civic engagement and voter turnout is one of the reasons government is not carrying out the will of the people, AND you recognize the reasons that the public is not engaged and are thinking creatively about how to provide resources and create opportunities for the public to learn how to get their voices heard. I love your idea to provide childcare services and reimbursements for travel costs so that people can participate regardless of their access to resources. You have a very strong sense of courage, compassion and collaboration -- I think it is wonderful that your goals are to create civic discourse that is inclusive of all viewpoints, rather than trying to preach your own point of view.
Opportunities to strengthen your project plan:
Although you have some great examples of how you will incorporate compassion and collaboration, I'd encourage you as a peacemaker to think about how you can engage even the people who might be helping to perpetuate this injustice. Have you considered how you might be able to involve government officials? Have you had the opportunity to talk to any officials to understand their point of view and what is driving their decision making? Understanding where they are coming from might help to create a more sustainable solution.
Another thing to consider is exactly how you articulate the injustice. Remember that to be an injustice, something must cause harm to a specific person or group of people, rather than just impacting everyone equally. I can tell from the effort you are taking to create space for under-resourced families to participate that you understanding that this injustice impacts some groups more than others. Can you think about how you might articulate who the injustice is impacting? Who is the government being inattentive to? Who are they listening to?
Finally, you've listed some wonderful examples of how you will know you are moving in the right direction (a diverse group of people engaging in civic discourse). I'd encourage you to think about what some of the shorter term indicators of success will be to keep track of the amazing impact I am sure you will make with your project steps (who are you hoping will attend the events? How will you find out how the events impacted them?)
Congratulations again and best of luck with your project! Please let us know if you have questions or how we can support you!
8 December 2017 13:02
Let us know how else we can be helpful. In particular, how can we help you build a team of other young people -- I know you mentioned that was something you wanted to work on!
8 June 2018 10:40
We're checking in because you haven't submitted your reflection yet. Reflections were due on May 31 as a part of your mini-grant award. Please submit your reflection as soon as you can. We're looking forward to hearing about how your project went!