Making Change in My Community
Changing a community can seem a lot more difficult than it actually is. First and foremost, it is important to expand one’s definition of change. Sure, it can be tempting to believe that the most effective changes happen in a 5-minute montage, but in reality, change happens when things shift bit by bit over time. Thinking of change as water eroding a rock rather than using a bundle of dynamite to blast it to pieces can be helpful when trying to shift a community to a specific vision. Remember that those in your community also have voices of their own; it is important to get a consensus before pushing for a change that will affect more than just you. Changing your community can look like many different things. Getting an idea of what sort of changes your community feels are important is crucial to affecting a positive change in your community. If there is something specific that you feel needs to be taken seriously, but isn’t being heard, it may be beneficial to educate those around you. My neighborhood has a community-build center where we host free Sunday night dinners, movie nights, food pantries, and educational evenings where people can spread awareness about issues they feel are important. By facilitating and supporting spaces like the one I am a part of, you can create a space where others feel welcome not only to learn about your ideas but feel safe enough to share theirs. Once you have a crowd that is comfortable sharing ideas with one another, taking action is only natural. Keep a line of communication between everyone, speak to local businesses to gain support, and get the ball rolling! Community action takes a community; building your community and empowering them to speak up is the first step toward effecting actual change.