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by Alejandra Bravo
For many of us, complicated processes of policy-making can be a barrier to our political participation. That’s why Building Blocks exists. We bring civic literacy training, our partners bring committed community.
We work with community leaders who focus on implementing practical, doable projects that make a difference in their neighbourhoods, increasing community civic literacy. Leaders like Terence Williams from the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC). Working with our leaders, community members learn about how governments make decisions and the points where they can participate in shaping those decisions.
Focusing on local community needs
An important goal of our work is to increase civic participation to reduce inequality in our communities. For Parkdale, a key issue identified has long been food insecurity.
PARC and Parkdale Food Network recently partnered to host an event on civic engagement and food security. They brought local community members together with representatives from all three levels of government in Parkdale-HighPark.
Terence shared key information and knowledge about how governments make decisions. Unpacking this complexity and helping participants see how they could have an impact was the central focus of Terence’s presentation.
The event provided opportunities for people to learn fundamentals of governments and policy issues related to food (in)security while identifying opportunities for neighbourhood improvement.
He uncovered the roles and responsibilities of different levels of government, the policy development process, and the key tactics for influencing policy making processes.
A great summary of the event is captured on the The Parkdale People’s Economy Project website.
Terence Williams – profile of a community leader
“Busy and alive” is how Terence Williams describes his neighbourhood of Parkdale. Apt words to describe a man who by day works as an advocate and relief housing support worker for PARC, a local drop-in and social service agency that has also recently opened a new social housing project, Edmond Place. On his off-hours Terence volunteers with the local community health centre, as well as a consumer/survivor organization, his local residents’ association and other local community building initiatives.
What’s next on his agenda? Deputations to and lobbying all levels of government so that he can better serve the marginalized in his community. Williams sees the exponential benefit of Building Blocks: not only will he be able to pass on his training to others, he will also gain political awareness.
Building Blocks is in part funded by