Podcast Episode Review: Gaming & Politics. By Rachel Aul

Podcast Episode Review: Gaming & Politics By Rachel Aul As an avid female gamer, the March 1st episode [with Dan Grueber] of the Growing Democracy podcast was something very exciting to listen to. I am also a graduate student in political science, so when I sit down to enjoy my favorite games, I also have more politically motivated thoughts while playing. Hearing Dan bring to light so many of the questions I have had while playing videogames made me feel not…

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 5

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 5: What mechanisms do grassroots organizers use to engage in community development?  By Hannah Lebovits, Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Arlington (and former Growing Democracy project manager) [Part 4: Resident Involvement in Grassroots Organizing?] Grassroots efforts involve several iterative stages including agenda setting, marketing, mobilization, action, and accountability. At each stage, organizers use a number of tools to refine their voice, empower their members, and tackle the central concern of the campaign. …

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 4

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 4: How Can Residents Get Involved with Grassroots Organizing?  By Hannah Lebovits, Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Arlington (and former Growing Democracy project manager) [Part 3: What is Grassroots Organizing?] Grassroots community organizing begins with a community and a cause. Residents often already have a sense of a common issue the neighborhood, faith-building, school, or street is facing, yet often lack a cohesive group with which to discuss these issues and advocate…

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 3

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 3: What is Grassroots Organizing?  By Hannah Lebovits, Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Arlington (and former Growing Democracy project manager) [Part 2: Role of government in community development?] Developing communities in ways that enhance social justice, equity, inclusion, and participation requires non-institutional efforts from residents, themselves. Grassroots organizing is a process by which communities create and maintain social power through identifying shared concerns, mobilizing to pursue resolutions, and sustaining the capacity to…

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 2

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 2: What role do government agencies play in stimulating community development?  By Hannah Lebovits, Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Arlington (and former Growing Democracy project manager) [Part 1: What is community development?] In the United States, governments at all levels are involved in promoting community development efforts. At the federal level, the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides grant funding for community development efforts at the state and local levels.…

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 1

Community Development & Growing Democracy Series, Part 1: What is community development?  By Hannah Lebovits, Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Arlington (and former Growing Democracy project manager) Community development is the process by which individuals and organizations work together to resolve community-wide issues that require collective efforts, despite varying personal interests. In the United States, community development rose to prominence in the 1960’s, the era of urban renewal. Newly diverse cities had faced decades of disinvestment- having lost massive amounts…

Democracy Blog: Self-Aware Civic Leader by Dr. Brandi Blessett

Self-Aware Civic Leader By Dr. Brandi Blessett, associate professor and Director of the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Cincinnati Current events often highlight discrimination and injustice for people who are Black or Latino, persons that are differently abled, identify as LGBTQ, or are poor, etc. There are contentious conversations related to the deservingness to access to clean water in Flint, Michigan and Sioux Falls, Nevada; the humanity of immigrants who are seeking refuge in the United…

Democracy Blog: Community Organizing in Cleveland, OH by Anna Hutcheson

Community Organizing in Cleveland, OH: A Snapshot By Anna Hutcheson, former Growing Democracy Project Manager & PhD Candidate at Kent State University The Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation, defines community organizing as “movement driven by the constituents of a community to build power and bring about systemic change” (CLE Foundation). It is especially noteworthy that this community-based organization, the first of its kind and still amongst the largest in existence, references Saul Alinsky’s rules of organization. Although Alinsky…

Democracy Blog: What is even is “community organizing”, by Anna Hutcheson

What even is Community Organizing? by Anna Hutcheson, former Growing Democracy Project Manager & PhD Candidate at Kent State University Community organizing: we hear talk of community organizing, neighborhood committees, activism and service. We are probably familiar with organizations in our communities that make claims about pursuit of social justice, equity, activism and fairness in our neighborhoods. What, though, does any of this really mean? Are neighborhood organizations and community organizations different words for the same thing? What are the…