The dictionary defines civic as relating to a city or a town – in others words, connecting with a community. Civic engagement is about creating a connected community of positive change and action.
Peter Block, author of Changing the Nature of the Question, refers to community as something that needs to be restored; something that has been broken. Block believes we have become disconnected from our communities, disconnected from our friends and families and disconnected from our authentic selves.
So how do we restore community and connection?
We change the question. We take responsibility. Instead of asking “how can I hold others accountable?” ask “how can I hold myself accountable?”
It’s similar to the question we pose in Sanctuary – we shift the question from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what’s happened?”
When we shift the question, and we shift from blame to responsibility, we build relationships and in turn build community.
Democracy is about working together as a team. It includes the following components:
- A group of people working together
- With complementary skills
- Committed to a common purpose
- With common goals and
- A common approach
- For which they hold themselves and each other mutually accountable
We can use civic engagement to build community and democracy to work together to create positive change. What kinds of changes would you like to see in our community?