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  • Evelyn Blunt

Community Builder’s Corner

What does Community Engagement mean to you?

What does Community Engagement mean to you?

I am often in my thoughts and feelings about what it means to honestly say, "Am I doing right by the people?" Or is this just about me? Whenever I go on social media, I read how nonprofits, City officials, and large organizations aren't listening to the people. But are self-promoting or grandstanding. So much so, it blows me away!

At Community meetings, I occasionally witness residents begging those same groups to stop talking "at" us and start talking "with" us. Especially when it comes to Law enforcement. Residents are still trying to make it clear that real change cannot come until the Law engages WITH

the community so that bad things don't happen TO the community.

My face cringes because all of this can so EASILY be resolved as I think about all this.

1. Are you listening? Or do you already have what you want to hear primed to be your answer? Again, are you talking to appease me, or do you even care what I have to say? Trust us...we can tell the difference.

And then #2. SHOW UP!!!

Consistency breeds trust. Your opportunity to hear from those you serve will be more appreciated when they can have your presence regularly. This was the very first piece of advice given to me by a dear friend of the community. And when you can add them both will find out so much more about the subject than you thought you knew. What you thought was the answer for us. What you thought you knew but mistakenly assumed instead.

Community engagement doesn't require a degree, nor does it require a certain status or skill to be authentic. Instead, it requires a willingness to know that sometimes it's best to emphasize "less" when it comes to the "self."

Ronald Rice, NNW Community Builder

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