Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, a series of community discussions that will explore the impact and ramifications of gentrification above and beyond displacement. According to Indianapolis census data compiled by governing.com, the number of census tracts gentrifying quadrupled from 1990-2000 to 2000-2010 (defined by percentage increases in home value, education attainment and median income).
This 8-part series kicks off Sunday, February 28th from 3-5 p.m. at Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place) with the first discussion: "Can it Happen Here? The Flint, Michigan Water Crisis." Attendees will explore gentrification through health and environmental issues in the community.
Each event in the series will encourage discussions of engaging topics from various angles, including but not limited to: education, culture, race, class and power, food, and global perspectives. A panel featuring local voices and speakers from other cities video conferencing in will contribute to the discussions as well.
We’ve reoriented our perspective from “outreach” (which assumes a center/source and a target) to “community engagement” (which embraces reciprocal and ongoing relationship / community development that builds trust). In this model, time is the most critical investment to successfully build effective, collaborative relationships and programs. Being present at crucial community conversations is important, as well as listening without expectation or agenda. In being present and listening to learn and understand, community concerns are in the driver seat and approaches are people-centered.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Flexibility is essential to effective community building and civic engagement work in order to accommodate its many forms, which range from bringing together disparate groups with similar interests and compatible skills to pairing a more established group to mentor a start-up group.
It is also important for Spirit & Place to have a presence in current events and issues. Our work with assisting with the “Talking About Freedoms Without Freaking Out” public discussion series, which explored the RFRA or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is an example of this work moving forward.
Capacity Building and Collective Impact
We continue to explore what it means for Spirit and Place to fulfill its mission via a collective impact approach, or bringing our “A Game” to support community capacity building around civic engagement. In this approach, weaving together new relationships and collaborations leads to exciting opportunities for unseen voices to emerge and new ways of seeing and doing. It may also mean that we use our work in community and in program design to support our community partners as they move forward to looking at new ways of working in the community.
Three events in this year’s festival reflect this new approach include, Dreaming of Justice Through Song, Jitterbug on Fleek and The Voices Project. While our community engagement work with SAVI to support their public conversation, SAVI Talks Crime: Does Perception Match Reality?” is another example.
As our Community Engagement work continues to evolve into new and exciting directions, we eagerly embrace and remain open to the unknown. It is in these uncharted waters that the opportunity that new connections and new directions can emerge, further honing the richness and beauty of civic engagement that is at the heart of the Spirit & Place Festival.
Keep a look out for unique opportunities to help craft deeper levels of civic engagement in Indianapolis and beyond as we begin to plan for 2016, which has the theme of "HOME."
LaShawnda Crowe Storm
Community Engagement Director, Spirit and Place Festival
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (best option)