Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bloomingdale Civic Association Leadership Summit Missing Leaders

I attended the Bloomingdale Leadership Summit this past Saturday at 10 a.m., a component of the $12,000 grant awardeded by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C last year.

For reference, here is the announcement again: You are cordially invited to join your neighbors and others at a Community and Leadership Summit on June 30th at the Harry Thomas, Sr. Recreation Center. The purpose of this session will be to find out how to strengthen and maintain a sense of community in transitioning neighborhoods. We will be advised by experts in the field and then break into small group sessions where individuals will have an opportunity to put forth their vision of the future of our neighborhood.

First of all, hats off to the leaders of BCA for putting together this novel and interesting program. However, the program needs to be tweaked in order to be a complete success.

I looked around and did not recognize anyone other than Commissioner John Salatti, Edgewood Civic Assocation's Rashidi Christian, and three of BCA's leaders (Commissioner Defoe did drop by later). I assume that Commissioner Davenport was working hard at Big Bear Cafe. I did not see anyone from Eckington Civic Association, Hanover/Truxton Circle, or North Capitol Main Street Inc. Love 'em or not, the leaders of those organizations are critical to any discussion about how to improve our neighborhood. Based on the Evite, some of these leaders were in fact invited, but some were not.

Participants at this forum likewise brought up race relations. Overall, most residents relate with each other reasonably well, although there is always room for more open minds and hearts. However, Commissioner Salatti and I were the only white people in the room, so any discussion of race would be truncated.

I recommend that Bloomingdale Civic Association reach out to Eckington Civic Association and Hanover Civic Association about a co-sponsorship of all future events. Dual billing will stimulate interest and bridge the gaps in our neighborhood.

A quick recap-- Mary Morris Hyde, PhD, noted some factors that indicate a sense of community of community building:

- Do people believe that they can leave a flower pot out on the front porch without it be stolen?
- What is the quality of street level interactions between residents?
- When a neighbor witnesses a code violation, does he/she call 311 or bring up the issue with the neighbor first?
- The identifiable leadership aspect: what percentage of people agree on who the leaders in the neighborhood are?
- The number of social events and activities that focus mainly on socializing, and the percentage of residents participating in those events.
- Institutional breadth and compentency in the neighborhood

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