Action Alert:

Convergence: Strengthening Local Neighborhoods and Communities

Autumn Convergence Workshop Report

          In the workshop time we had available, our group was able to briefly touch on two questions:

          1. How can we act on a local level to strengthen relationships and a sense of community in our own communities and neighborhoods?  

          This question elicited a variety of responses.  Examples included:

          ?  Focus on people’s self-interests

          ?  Engage in one-on-one meetings  

          ?  Emphasize similarities among people, & between the initiator and audience     

          ?  Develop and utilize community celebrations (e.g., Jamaica Plain)

          ?  Have a concrete issue (e.g., East Boston casino issue)

          ?  Go to local meetings of target groups; become familiar to them, and demonstrate your own commitment

          2. How can we develop mechanisms for sharing local successes across communities, so that we they can adapted and utilized elsewhere?

          Again, many diverse responses were mentioned, including:

          ?  YouTube videos on Facebook   

          ?  Sharing across different churches in a community

          ?  Having a concrete and appealing issue  (e.g., El Salvador sister city)   

          ?  Shared issues and concerns in a given setting  (e.g., elderly housing)

          ?  Potlucks 

          ?  Farmers markets

          ?  Transition Towns

          Many other suggestions along these lines would probably have been articulated for both questions had time permitted.

          While there were no immediate plans for workshop participants to engage in further activities as a group, one general sentiment that seemed to be shared was the desirability of some between-meetings structures, perhaps in part electronic, that could:

           *  Hold together members and affiliated persons  

           *  Sustain our common work

           *  Provide support

           *  Maintain a sense of community, and

           *  Offer a space for sharing successes, stories, tips, tools, and general resource information.  

           This might be a fertile area for Mass Peace Action and perhaps partner organizations to consider and perhaps develop.

                                         ~~ Bill Berkowitz

                                              Workshop Convenor