Civic Health Initiative
Civic Health is a measure of the civic, social, and political strength of a community. CG3 believes that improving the civic health of our city leads to the increased well-being of residents, an expanded capacity to solve problems, and greater transparency and fairness of our municipality.
Just as we have three pillars to our mission, we have three ways of promoting Civic Health:
1) CIVIC EDUCATION
Since our launch in March of 2022, we have learned that getting involved in local politics is easy in some ways and daunting in others. Committee, City Council and School Board meetings are open to the public. You can just show up and listen. It’s exciting to discover the many city employees, citizen volunteers and consulting experts that work on all kinds of issues that affect our daily lives. As we continue to learn what it takes to get involved and discover obstacles to doing so, we work hard to share our discoveries and lessons with the broader community. We also reach up and across to our city leaders to let them know ways that we believe they can be more inclusive to citizens they aren’t reaching. Our end goal is to help all citizens get involved and realize their individual power to make a difference.
Here are a handful of tools we’ve found really helpful in getting involved. Don’t hesitate to attend meetings and just observe. So much can be learned while being a “fly on the wall.”
City of Concord's online tools for public engagement:
2) CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
CG3 encourages community members to engage in local government and participate in the decision-making processes that impact their lives. We aim to partner with local organizations to reach out to, and empower, underrepresented individuals and communities to bring their critical and often unheard voices to the table.
Currently, we are working with the city to address issues around public engagement. In 2022, we organized a two-part community-wide workshop aimed at helping Concord citizens communicate with the Concord School Board around the building of a middle school. In early 2023, we plan to help City Planning to coordinate meetings with hard-to-reach residents including the New American community to help individuals understand the impacts of the new zoning code on their daily lives.
3) CIVIC LEADERSHIP
Our Civic Leadership program aims to reach out to, and empower, underrepresented individuals and communities to bring critical voices to the table. We aim to connect in two ways. First, we have partnered with Change4Concord to support their growing organization in navigating the city’s political landscape; sharing what we’ve learned and offering support when they request it.
We are also developing a Civic Leadership Playbook specific to Concord. There are many wonderful resources from successful Civic leaders in all walks of life. We are working to tailor a document reflective of and responsive to Concord’s past, present and future. We hope that this playbook becomes a tool for other grassroots organizations, like ours, to dig in and commit themselves to meaningful projects about which they are impassioned.
Change happens when ordinary people show up with compassion and courage. Watch this brief video and check out the opportunities to engage in our local government below.
Attend Regular Committee Meetings
Every City and School District committee, board and commission invites the public to attend their meetings and make public comment. This is an incredible way to learn about, and weigh in on, critical projects that effect you and the community. CG3 members regularly attend committee meetings & share relevant news and information with our wider community through our blog.
Run for City Council or School Board
City Council members are democratically elected and act as the legislative branch and policy-making body of the city government. The Council looks to the city's goals, major projects and infrastructure improvements ranging from community growth to land use to finances and strategic planning.
School board members are the unsung heroes in communities throughout the country. They establish the vision and goals for the public schools in their district, and they set standards for the performance of schools and superintendents. School board members are elected by people in their community to represent their values, views, and desires for the public schools in their district. Board members are more than policy-makers and administrators; they are advocates for students and their parents and entrusted to engineer a better future.