In honor of our 125th Anniversary, we will be using our newsletter to highlight 125 projects or initiatives that use civic capital to solve problems and build equitable, thriving communities. These cities have been recognized for engaging community members in collaborative efforts to improve education, health care, economic prosperity and the general quality of life. Today, examples 61-70:
- San Pablo, CA. Faced with a childhood obesity crisis and the highest cancer rate in Contra Costa County, San Pablo embraced a collective vision to address health disparities, becoming the first city in California to add an optional health-conscious planning element—Health Element—to its General Plan. Representatives from all sectors of the community participated in the development of the Health Element, which was adopted in 2011 and focuses on a variety of factors affecting health, including access to health services, nutrition and the quality of physical environments.
- Battle Creek, MI. Battle Creek is working with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to address historic and contemporary effects of racism and improve economic conditions. Founding members of a truth, racial healing and transformation coalition work to engage community members in dialogue to broaden perspectives, build trust, and promote racial equity. The group meets monthly and is comprised of representatives of the Battle Creek Community Foundation, law enforcement, city administrators, and the Center for Diversity and Innovation, among others.
- Stockton, CA. In 2016, the Little Manila Rising started the ethnic studies-based Us History after-school program at Edison High School. The tagline was: “Putting ‘us’ back into U.S. History.” The program focused on Mexican American, African American, and Filipino American histories and cultures (the three largest ethnic groups on campus).
- Montgomery, AL. A survey on obesity identified the Montgomery metropolitan area as having one of the highest obesity rates in the country. Mayor Strange appointed a Health and Fitness “Czar” to address the issue, and a River Region Obesity Task Force (RROTF) was formed. The task force was open to any group or individual in the region with a desire to address the obesity issue. The first meeting was attended by hospital executives, school officials, dietitians, fitness coaches, nutrition experts, municipal, county and state officials, university and college representatives and even salespeople from weight loss product lines!
- Tacoma, WA. Faced with a history of community distrust, anger and grief, Tacoma has chosen to invest in equity both internally and externally. The mission of Project PEACE is to build a foundation of trust between historically marginalized communities and law enforcement.
- Decatur, GA. Concerned about housing prices, gentrification and reports of police profiling of African-Americans, Decatur, Georgia, convened a community-wide conversation on race relations and related issues called “Better Together.” The program “consisted of a series of presentations and videos interspersed with opportunities for participants to converse with their table-mates about an equitable and inclusive city; racially-just community policing; and diverse and affordable housing.”
- Cleveland, OH. The Ballot Box Project was North Collinwood’s first exercise in arts-based participatory budgeting. After being awarded a $120,000 grant from ArtPlace America, Collinwood residents gathered to determine how the funds should be spent.
- Marshall, TX. The city’s Historic Landmark Preservation Board prioritized an effort to commemorate important sites associated with Marshall’s role in African-American history and the civil rights movement which resulted in the Buard History Trail. The Trail is named after Rebecca Buard (1909-2000), who was a teacher at Marshall’s first African-American high school and Wiley College.
- Longmont, CO. In response to local concerns about mental health care, 50 community members formed a coalition called Supporting Action for Mental Health (SAM). SAM is the collaborative effort of local community groups and organizations, faith communities, residents, and local government to raise awareness and address mental health issues in Longmont.
- Chicago, IL. Chicago’s 49th Ward has used participatory budgeting to help determine the priorities and projects that Alderman Joe Moore submits to the city and its related agencies. In this ward, residents have real power in deciding how to spend taxpayer resources. Since 2010 the residents of Ward 49 have worked to suggest projects, set priorities and determine the allocation of $8,300,000 in capital expenditures.