We have to work to make our concerns relevant. In the back and forth about the changes to our neighborhood, people telling their own stories has proven to be our most lasting tool. The sincerity of an impacted voice is more effective and harder to neutralize than a surrogate. The calculations are different for the developer; generally, their most potent voices are one step removed.
Elected officials have a bully pulpit if they choose to use it. Even when we are appealing to them for help with something our community needs, we have to keep in mind that their perspective is broader, and they balance
a wider set of needs. If we have a large list of concerns, they are likely whittled down to a few, or even one, before the official steps in front of the camera.
Block Party, 2017
James Gallery, Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY