Friday, November 16, 2012

Coalition building on the Eastside

By the Eastside TSP Team

Meet the Team:
We are a group of Public Allies working with the Eastside Blueprint Committee.  Our names are: Sashalee King, Malcolm Roberts, Saresa Cooper, Dashon Jones, Jalpurnia Trader, and Lindsay Lancaster.

Our Ultimate Goal:
While we are working on creating a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), our goal is to help the Eastside team build a strong coalition that will identify and address the concerns within the community and work toward creating a sustainable change.

Our Project:
We are off to a great start with our team service project! We have
met three times with the Eastside Blueprint Communities (BC) team. In the meetings we learned about the history of the community and their goal to create a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). A CBA is an agreement between the stakeholders of the community (e.g. businesses, civic associations, churches, residents, etc.) and the developers. In order to create a CBA, we are building a coalition to ensure that the needs of the community are addressed.

Our Progress:
We started the coalition building process by identifying stakeholders such as residents, civic group leaders, and church leaders. We worked with the Eastside BC Team to invite and bring these leaders together for our Make a Difference Day meeting. At the event, we brought fifteen people together to discuss our purpose and invited them to brainstorm stakeholders within the community and express their concerns.

Community Wishes:
At our Make a Difference Day Meeting, the community expressed the following concerns and wishes for the future.
  • There are too many liquor stores and they are located too close to schools. Residents would like to see stores located further from schools.
  • Eastside residents would like to see more youth activities within the community
  • The community would like to see programs teaching people how to buy and own homes.
  • There is an interest in programs teaching residents how to grow and cook vegetables.

The Walking Tour:
Thank you to Alfie Moss, head of the BC Team and State Representative Stephanie Bolden for taking us on a tour of the Eastside on Saturday October 27, 2012. This tour gave the Allies the opportunity to gain a sense of the community and its environment. We explored several organizations such as Stepping Stones Credit Union. We also met a local owner of a barber shop who was interested in learning more about the coalition. Several members of the community actively engaged in conversations with us regarding their community concerns. We were excited to meet two young entrepreneurs in the community. The young ladies were between the ages of twelve and fourteen and they were selling cakes and cookies outside their home. We learned that the Eastside community has many assets that we hope to leverage in the future!

Our Next Steps:
We are working on organizing and compiling this list of stakeholders so we can begin contacting and engaging them with the Eastside BC Team. We also plan to follow-up with the connections we made in the community and invite them to learn more about the coalition.

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