Emmy Winner and Attorney Calls Individuals to Rise to Meet Challenges of Local Communities

Attorney and Human Rights Expert, Joshua V. Barr, Outlines 10 Steps to Increase Engagement and Transform Communities from Within
By: Whitney McDuff Consulting
 
Joshua V. Barr, Attorney & Emmy Winner
Joshua V. Barr, Attorney & Emmy Winner
DES MOINES, Iowa - Aug. 10, 2022 - PRLog -- In the wake of constant turmoil and despair, a vast majority of Americans feel totally overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems we are facing in our communities today.  From gun violence, to poverty, and endless political controversy, trust in government is low, and tensions are high.  One human rights activist believes there is a better way.

Emmy winner, attorney, and human rights activist Joshua V. Barr has spent his life educating others on how to understand one another better and build a thriving community through the power of personal responsibility.  As many look to the federal government to solve these problems, Joshua argues that real change happens at the grassroots level.  He now speaks to groups across the country, educating them on how to navigate the complexities of local government.

Understanding our individual communities and how to navigate the power structures within them is the only way to drive change going forward.  Barr states,

"All efforts for change need a motor behind it that keeps the movement sustainable. The community is that motor that drives the change needed in their communities. Always has been, always will be."

Change doesn't start with the federal government, or even with business leaders, it starts with the individuals and the communities in which they live. This makes the shift easier- and quicker- than most think.

Here are 10 Steps to Increase Engagement and Transform Communities from Within that we can make TODAY:

1. Understand Your Type of Government & Who Your Local Representatives Are
  • There are primary types of local municipal governments:
    • Council-Manager Government: City council oversees the general administration, makes policy, sets budget and appoints a professional city manager to carry out day-to-day administrative operations
    • Mayor-Council Government: the Mayor operates as the full-time Chief Executive and the City Council acts as the legislative body that makes the laws.
    • Your government entity website should inform you of your ward/district and who the representatives are for your community.

2. Attend City Council, School Board, and County Supervisor Meetings
  • Check your government entity website to know when meetings take place. You don't have to attend every meeting, but you should go to understand what matters are being heard and how decisions are made.

3. Attend Board and Commission Meetings
  • Most cities have boards of people appointed by the mayor and city council to be the first line of decision-making and advisees to the city council. These persons also have the ear of their elected representatives as they influence how a city council person may vote. It is imperative that you understand the boards and commissions that review issues within your community and become engaged with any board or Commission that speaks to the issues that can concern you.

4. Dialogue and Engage with your Community to Better Understand What the Most Pertinent Issues Are
  • Most people believe that the issues that directly affect us are the most important issues in the world. Try to determine the most significant issues impacting the well-being of your specific community. This will require you to get out of your comfort zone: attending meetings and dialoguing with neighbors who you may not typically engage with. Being a better advocate and ally requires you to meet others where they are if we are truly going to address issues.

5. Meet with Your City Council Representatives
  • Unlike federal and state, city council and school board members are your neighbors who work in entities that are open year-round. These are accessible people that you should get to know and build relationships with. When it comes to politics, access to what is happening is based on relationships and conversations. Build relationships with your elected officials.

6. Join or Create A Neighborhood Association
  • Neighborhood associations are an organized collection of neighbors in a certain part of communities that have a direct line to city councilpersons. When trying to effect change in your community, understand that systems recognize power, and when you don't have individual financial, legal, or political power, all you have left is people power and organizing a neighborhood association or working with your existing one gives you a foundational base of people that local politicians have historically recognized if they're organized and show up.

7. Join & Donate to Agencies Doing the work
  • Community transformation cannot be done by any one person alone. You must be organized. Learn more about local organizations that are already addressing the issues. If they are effective, join them, but before you donate a ton of money, reach out to the leadership team and understand their agenda, strategy, and successes they have had in executing their agenda.

8. Join Local Boards & Commissions
  • As you become more active in the community and understand the issues, it is important to influence those decisions, starting with joining local boards or Commissions. Reach out to your local city council person to let them know of your interest and being appointed to any particular board or Commission.

9. Have a strategy & plan on how to address community issues. Partner with other organizations & continue to apply pressure.
  • As the saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" We must have a plan and a strategy for where we're trying to go. And as we address some issues, new ones will arise. That's human nature and the path toward real change.

10. Vote
  • Historically, midterm elections and local elections have not had strong turnouts, despite those elections having the most significant impact. We must have as- if not more- engagement, in local elections than in presidential ones because it's the local representatives who determine how funds will be distributed within a community. Therefore, it is important that we vote for people who will vote in our best interest and advocate for our interest in our efforts to improve our communities.

"America is presently in a battle for its soul and the core of its soul is community: the neighborhoods and towns that we live. The fight is not national, its local. We must each do the work necessary in our corners of the nation if we are going to change the nation. And must do it, not alone, but with our neighbors."  -Joshua V. Barr

As the world becomes more polarized, the end of this division won't happen at a national level. It starts at home with community members dialoguing and rallying around the issues that hinder us from thriving as a society. Politicians are not going to save us. We must do the work in our own backyards to save ourselves. There are so many things that communities are oblivious about engaging on the issues that matter to us, let's learn together on how we can transform our communities.

About Joshua V. Barr

Joshua V. Barr is an Emmy winner, attorney and renowned DEI expert who teaches people how to address the problems of their communities so they have the opportunity to thrive. He specializes in helping communities better understand the power of local government and the agency they collectively have to create real lasting transformation.

For speaking, education, and media, you can contact Joshua Barr directly at
Joshua@RaisingtheBarrLLC.com.

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Tags:Joshua V. Barr, Civil Rights, Community Organizer
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Location:Des Moines - Iowa - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Aug 19, 2022



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