Bringing People Together Restores Lives as well as Communities
In a recent opinion article of the Chicago Sun Times, "Five Pieces of Advice for Chicago's Next Mayor," Peter Cunningham presents five suggestions to Lori Lightfoot, for the start of her new position as mayor of Chicago. His last point, "Bring people together," is in my mind the most important. I would add more specifically, that by organizing and empowering people, especially who live in some of the run-down neighborhoods of the city, we could begin to solve several problems facing Chicago.
Giving community members an opportunity to improve their living spaces could motivate them to feel more engaged and invested in their neighborhoods, give them something constructive to do with their time, and foster a sense of community. Idle minds and hands are the devil's playground and often spawn self-destruction and/or criminal activity. Organizing individuals and offering stipends to those who take on a leadership role could give those who are in need of more work and money, a sense of responsibility and usefulness along with necessary income.
Individuals and groups from other areas could be involved to help support and organize community members, thus creating a larger circle of connection and understanding. Aldermen and other political leaders should also be participating in some way in order to make themselves aware of the needs of their constituents and involve them more directly with the communities and people they serve. Joining several factions in the city to work together to make improvements in the living conditions therefore, lives of people, fosters greater understanding between individuals, self-empowerment, and engages people in constructive ways.