It was a good night, all the food groups were covered in the potluck and in the conversation. There was the delicious randomness of potlucks — vegetarian loaf, bruschetta, fresh bread, brie, samosas, salad, pecan pie, mini cream puffs and more . . . In the conversation there was connection, inspiration, in depth discussion of next steps and, as all the best meals and meetings include, a large serving of gratitude.
New Scoop YYC is a multi stakeholder co-op. The meeting began with introductions from all the members present.
Worker members: JC Lanciault, Carolina Pelaez, Nicole Chan, Simone Lee, Sarah Arthurs.
Organizational members: Kathryn Cormier from Vibrant Communities Calgary
Individual members: Greg O Neill, Phil Cox, Mike Simone, Gael MacLeod, Mark Durieux.
Inspiration came from Peter Block, a member from Cincinnati, Ohio, who is embedded and engaged as a citizen in his community. In the course of our Skyped conversation he referenced hosting a community meeting after there was a shooting in his neighbourhood, asking three questions:
1. When did you start caring about this neighbourhood and why does the neighbourhood matter to you?
2. What crossroads are you at concerning your commitment to the neighbourhood?
3. As a citizen, what is your contribution to some of the struggles facing the neighbourhood? What are you doing or not doing that is supporting the status quo?
News generates fear, the more fear, the easier it is to control the masses.
We need to reconstruct what we consider newsworthy.
Need faith, not hope or optimism.
We get to pick what is news. It is not Pollyanna …it’s about what is being produced or imagined.
— Peter Block
This gathering of 120 people resulted in small actions in community strengthening. One person got a drug dealer out of her basement. People dropped off flyers throughout the neighbourhood and got to know their neighbours. The anecdote was shared to demonstrate a different understanding of news. Mainstream news might cover a shooting by going to the extremes in the conversation; the anti and pro gun lobby groups and their static, polarized positions. Generative journalism pays attention to how citizens are taking shared responsibility for moving their community towards being more safe, inclusive and connected.