Below is the invitation that Claudia and I created for our first meeting, 9/24/12. Though battling barrio boys motivated Claudia and me to bring neighbors together, we hoped not to sink into despair by focusing on conflict, but to raise hopes by discovering our common dreams and proposing positive actions.
Almost 30 neighbors, including several children and a baby, attended our first meeting. We provided popcorn with salsa (a Mexican custom) and art supplies so children could draw their dreams. We wrote our agenda on poster paper and taped it to a large piece of plywood that we leaned against the graffiti-covered wall on the corner where we met. On another large sheet of paper for all to see, a volunteer wrote participants’ comments on dreams, troubles, resources, and proposed actions. Some neighbors blamed the parents of the battling boys for their behavior, leaving blamed parents feeling defensive. But most of the time Claudia and I managed to keep the meeting moving toward solutions (rather than getting stuck in blame). And, in any case, the battling boys were not the only concern. Neighbors brought up problems of litter, graffiti, inadequate city lighting, dog and cat poop in the callejones (footpaths), and garbage filled abandoned lots. The neighbors decided to have a second meeting two weeks later.
A few neighbors (we think some of the battling boys) expressed dismay at the prospect of our meeting. A few hours after I put up the meeting invitation, I came back home. When I reached for our front door handle I jumped because I touched something strange. It turned out to be a dead scorpion that someone had carefully laid there. (Daunting, but not dangerous.)
I hope to post more on the thinking behind our meeting and the actions we neighbors decided to take. I also hope to post on other meetings and reactions of the discontent (including scribbled threats on one meeting invitation.) Leave a reply below to let me know that you are interested. Also, let me know if you need a translation of the invitation.
A TODOS LOS VECINOS DEL CALLEJÓN DEL EJIDO
¿TE INTERESA EL BIENESTAR EN TU COMUNIDAD?
A LA 1ª. REUNIÓN DE VECINOESTE LUNES 24 DE SEPTIEMBRE, 2012, A LAS SEIS EN LA TARDE EN EL CALLEJON DEL EJIDO (AFUERA DE LA TIENDA DE LA SRA. CHAYO)
TEMA: “BIENESTAR EN NUESTRA COMUNIDAD”
OBJETIVO: PROPICIAR EL MEJORAMIENTO DEL ENTORNO EN EL BARRIO DEL EJIDO
PUNTOS A TRATAR:
VENTAJAS CON LAS QUE CUENTA NUESTRA COMUNIDAD
- Compartir experiencias positivas en nuestro barrio.
EXPECTATIVAS PARA El FUTURO ¿Qué deseamos?
- Expresar y compartir opiniones
DETECCIÓN DE PROBLEMAS
- Compartir experiencias personales y/u opiniones diversas.
- Identificar los recursos que nos apoyen en su resolución.
PROPUESTAS DE MEJORA.
- Compartir propuestas e ideas para construir un entorno sano y positivo.
- Toma de acuerdos.
ELEGIR UNA FECHA PARA LA PRÓXIMA REUNIÓN