In the following lessons we will look at influencing city government to support the neighborhood, city, and broader community you want to live in.
In How Does Local Government in Detroit Serve Us?, we discussed that being a citizen is to be a member of a community, but what is community anyway? A simple definition might be this: Community is all about people; it’s when you and your group share a common identity. Your neighborhood is a community, your school is a community. You are also a part of communities with people who aren’t in the same physical location as you. Those who share your religion are a community as are people who share your political beliefs. You may live in a particular neighborhood and have a community there, but you’re also a part of the broader Detroit community and connected to people living in neighborhoods you’ve never even visited. Being a part of a community is to be a part of something larger than ourselves, and in order for our communities to be their very best we must work together, as a network: a network of voices, ideas, hopes, dreams, and shared expectations.
How do we accomplish this?
You may already know what you want and need, but when you know and understand your community’s wants and needs, you can build up a single plan for the future; what’s called a vision. Your own focus and personal vision are a powerful force, but collectively, the community needs a single vision to strive towards. This can be accomplished by advocating for your own vision and sharing it with others, or by linking your ideas with those of others. Whether you’re focused on the broader Detroit community, or your neighborhood, you must connect with a network of neighbors, community members, and importantly, local government to accomplish the vision.