Community Engagement


Civic and community engagement includes strategies to organize individuals for collective action, as well as strategies to make sure that all voices in a community are heard as part of inclusive decision-making. These strategies can help build various kinds of social capital. That is, they can increase the extent to which residents in a given place can turn to each other and to community institutions for support, and the extent to which they are able to influence or control decisions that affect their lives. People often use civic or community engagement strategies to work towards racial equity goals. When using them, it is helpful to spend time thinking upfront about how much work will be done within existing systems, vs. trying to transform or interrupt those systems. It is also useful to consider the extent to which the work is based on the expressed wishes of the people whose lives are most likely to be affected positively and negatively by the work. Another key decision is whether engagement is being designed as an end in itself (to ensure all voices are heard and influence racial equity processes), as means to an end (to contribute to action and change directly), or for both purposes.

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