David Hill, the reporter from the Gazette paper came over to cover the NCPCA’s last week’s meeting. I saw him standing at the back of the meeting room for the entire session of 2+ hours and taking notes. Here is a report he prepared for this week’s edition, the print version of which you should’ve received yesterday. Thanks Dave for taking the time despite your busy schedule – we all much appreciate that.
I’m glad that the article brought the issue of relatively large attendance of residents from one ethnic/religious group in the meeting. As I mentioned in my other post, there was even larger participation by the same ethnic group in another NCPCA regular meeting three and half years ago. Fortunately, that time their presence was applauded by then councilman, understandably for the vote his neighborhood report received from that particular ethnic group. If the large presence of the same group that time was termed as “a demonstration of the power of democracy at its most”, I wonder why is this viewed differently at this time.
The large presence of a particular group or groups at the voting booth isn’t something new in the long democratic tradition of our country. The enormous support of African Americans for one candidate in the 2008 presidential election and the huge support of the evangelical voters for another candidate in the 2004 presidential election are only two examples. People flock to the polling station “in droves” when they think the issue at hand would affect their rights most.
Thus for the sake of keeping and encouraging democratic tradition of our country and this association, I think we should all commend any group or groups for its civic participation. The same should apply to the opinions expressed by any member in a democratic fashion for or against the issues at hand. I’m glad that I could generate that democratic debate on the amendment issue through this blog post and its discussion forum. Citizens often make their minds on contemporary issues after going through discussion in such blogosphere – I don’t think it will be fair to accuse these citizens as ’recruited’; such accusations rather undermine the mere ability of a citizen in exercising his or her democratic right.
One of the civic activities I enjoy the most is to get many members part of the civic association. The past campaign in November gave me many opportunities talking to my neighbors about NCPCA and what we do at its general meeting. After the campaign, I personally mailed several hundred letters to these neighbors telling my commitment through NCPCA activities. For the past few months, I’ve also been trying to promote NCPCA through this blog where I invite them to attend its regular meetings. The neighbors in these communications don’t belong to one particular ethnic group, but rather all residents of our neighborhood – Whites, African Americans, Latinos and Asians.
Getting more neighbors involved as part of the association is not a job of one or two members – this is a work that should be done by everyone. However, we also have our responsibilties as a group. Collectively, we can designate a week or a month every year for a much needed membership drive. During this period, we can go door to door telling our neighbors the benefits of joining our association. Other community organizations do similar drive to increase their memberships. We should also take advantage of the NCPCA’s annual events, such as the upcoming picnic to attract more neighbors to introduce NCPCA and get them involved.
The presence of more members in our civic association means more benefit for the entire community. Take for example the Neighborhood Watch program we have in our city. Currently, we only have a handful of such active programs in the neighborhood. With city’s budget shrinking at an alarming rate, and the rate of crime incidents going up, we need many members from our civic association to take care of our citizens’ needs.
The wiser solution to address the apparent disparities in our civic association is to use our energies and time to reach out as many neighbors as possible – and get them to be part of the larger community – the community we call ‘a family of one’.