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Category Archives: Intentional Communities

New study reveals the group that was crucial in toppling Trump in 2020 – Raw Story

Posted: October 15, 2021 at 9:04 pm

Calling into question widespread perceptions of lower-income Americans and their level of political engagement, a new study released Friday detailed the high turnout among poor voters in the November 2020 electionsparticularly in battleground states which helped deliver victories for President Joe Biden and Democrats in the Senate and Housefollowing a concerted effort by campaigners to engage with low-income communities regarding the issues that mattered to them in the election.

Released by the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC:NCMR); the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice; and Repairers of the Breach, the study shows that of the 168 million Americans who cast ballots last year, 59 million, or 35%, had an estimated annual household income of less than $50,000, classifying them as poor or low-income.

According to the report, titled "Waking the Sleeping Giant: Low-Income Voters and the 2020 Elections" and written by Kairos Center policy director Shailly Gupta Barnes, those voters were among the Americans that the Poor People's Campaign reached out to last year when it held a non-partisan voter outreach drive across 16 states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The organization reached over 2.1 million voters, with campaigners speaking with them about "an agenda that includes living wages, healthcare, strong anti-poverty programs, voting rights, and policies that fully address injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy," according to the report.

The Poor People's Campaign found "that the reason poor and low-income voters participate in elections at lower rates is not because they have no interest in politics, but because politics is not interested in them."

"They do not hear their needs and demands from candidates or feel that their votes matter," wrote Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People's Campaign, in the foreward to the report. "They are less likely to vote because of illness, disability, or transportation issues, not to mention the rise of voter suppression lawsall systemic barriers rather than individual failures."

"Intentional efforts to engage these voter" in the leadup to the 2020 election,contact the groups found, were key to turning out low-income voters in states where Biden's margin of victory was near or less than 3%, including:

"While the data cannot be used to claim that being contacted by PPC:NCMR was the only factor that drove them to vote, we can say that our efforts to directly reach out to low-income, infrequent voters improved their turnout rates in these states," the report reads.

The groups highlighted the case of Georgia, which was carried by Bidenmarking the first Democratic presidential victory in the southern state since 1992. Outreach by the Poor People's Campaign helped encourage more than 39,000 Georgians who didn't vote in 2016 to cast ballots last year"accounting for more than three times the final margin of victory for the presidential contest in the state."

The racial demographics of low-income voters in Georgia were fairly evenly split between Black and white low-income voters, with 1.9 million low-income white voters casting ballots last year and 1.6 million Black Georgians going to the polls. Another 164,000 low-income voters were classified as Hispanic.

In other states carried by Biden, white people made up a larger share of eligible lower-income voters reached by the PPCNCMR, including in Michigan, where 2.95 million out of 3.8 million poor voters were white; Pennsylvania, where three million of the state's 3.95 million eligible low-income voters were white; and Wisconsin, where 1.8 million out of 2.1 million low-income voters were white.

The statistics present "a challenge to the media-driven narrative that emerged out of 2016 and before, i.e., that white low-income voters are the de facto base of the Republican Party and delivered Donald Trump into the White House," wrote Gupta Barnes.

"While the narrative that white low-income voters are voting not only against their own interests, but also the interests of other racial segments of low-income voters, persisted through the 2020 elections, our analysis suggests something significantly different," the author added. "The findings suggest that, rather than writing white low-income voters off, it is possible to build coalitions of low-income voters across race around a political agenda that centers the issues they have in common."

Though the Poor People's Campaign made an intentional effort in 2020 to reach low-income voters, listen to their concerns, and urge them to turn out in the elections, the report notes that legislative action must be taken to turn last year's high turnout among poor Americans into a long-term reality.

"To realize the potential of the low-income electorate, our voting infrastructure must be expanded to encourage these voters to both register and vote," the report reads.

As Common Dreams has reported this year, the PPCNCMR has campaigned extensively to urge the passage of the For the People Act, which would outlaw partisan gerrymandering, expand early voting, establish a national automatic voter registration system, and take other steps to strengthen the country's election system.

"While mechanisms to increase registration are important for low-income voters, there is an even greater need for policies and legislation that increase their ability to cast a ballot and actually vote," wrote Gupta Barnes.

Additionally, the report says, Democrats must identifyand pass"an agenda that appeals to important concerns of low-income voters across race, that is, issues like raising hourly wages, stimulus payments, paid leave, housing, and healthcare."

"According to exit polls, 72% of Americans said they would prefer a government-run healthcare plan and more than 70% supported raising the minimum wage, including 62% of Republicans," the report reads. "In Florida, the $15/hour minimum wage referendum got more votes than either of the two presidential candidates."

The report comes as progressives in Congress are pushing back against corporate Democrats' claims that the Build Back Better Actthe spending package which would invest $3.5 trillion in climate action, child care, affordable housing, and other measures to help lower- and middle-income peopleis unaffordable.

As Common Dreams reported on Tuesday, the Poor People's Campaign held a press conference on Capitol Hill this week to demand the legislation's passage.

The report, wrote Gupta Barnes, "underscores why the needs and concerns of low-income voters must be brought more fully into our political discourse, platforms, and campaignsand why candidates who are elected on these platforms must live up to their campaign promises."

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New study reveals the group that was crucial in toppling Trump in 2020 - Raw Story

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Working the Flip: What Leaders Can Learn About Engagement From Volunteer Orgs – ATD

Posted: at 9:04 pm

Despite companies tremendous efforts to measure and affect positive influence on this statistic, the number has not fluctuated much during the last 20-some years of measurement. Many seasoned talent and organizational development practitioners bore witness to the shift from an attempt to capture employee satisfaction data in the early 2000s to the current, more enlightened approach of gauging team member engagement. Even with the focal shift that aligned with the G12 measures that tap more deeply into the emotional engagement factors, the needle has moved little during the last two decades.

Why is that? Could it be that organizations across the nation are living out a form of the definition of insanity? Most are familiar with this reference. Insanity is defined as the phenomenon where we continue to do the same things yet expect different results.

The traditional model for attempting to elevate organizational engagement has largely remained unchanged: hire people using traditional recruitment systems and processes and then tinker with the levers of team member engagement for individuals, teams, departments, and the entire organization after the people are selected, hired, oriented, onboarded, and prepared to perform in their assigned roles. Could it be that this tried-and-true model for talent acquisition is the culprit that is leading to our definition of insanity? Might we, in corporate society, who desire to see deeper team member engagement, have twisted the formula for attracting talented contributors to deliver upon the mission of our organizations?

For-profit entities need only look over the proverbial fence at their nonprofit and volunteer-supported organizations to see that maybe there is another way to approach individual and organizational engagement. Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) have been leveraging the time, talent, and treasures of dedicated volunteers to generate community impact for decades. NPOs drive mission attainment with a workforce that (at least a portion of which) is not monetarily compensated. Rob Jackson of Rob Jackson Consulting, an international thought leader in the practice of volunteer engagement, adds, Indeed, volunteers often outnumber paid employees by significant numbers in community impact organizations globally and are frequently, by design, the only people whose efforts directly deliver upon the mission.

What could be learned from our volunteer-supported sister organizations? What are they doing differently that compels unpaid team members to be deeply engaged in their work, their chosen cause, the beneficiaries, and the impact on their community? What is their secret formula that has led to decades of deep, sustained engagement and the resulting longevity that often accompanies the impassioned emotional connection of volunteer service?

Hear me out, corporate America. There is a lesson to be gleaned from the human behavior insights of our peer leaders of volunteer engagement.

High-performing volunteer-supported organizations have practiced a simple discipline that ideally occurs during the candidate attraction process. Before an arriving volunteer and an organization render a mutual commitment, the leader asks for the prospective volunteers needs, wants, desires, experience, skills, and passions. The leader seeks to discover the why of the volunteer before investing in the mutually beneficial relationship. Why does the leader take the additional time and effort to ask these questions? First, the leader must vet that the person is a strong fit for the culture and mission of the organization. Second, the leader will use the insight gained from the responses to these essential questions to align the individual with work that will feed their expressed passions in meaningful ways.

Cultural and missional fit? Check. Intrinsic motivations aligned with meaningful work? Check. Result? Sustained engagement in the organization and the work. The beneficiary? The volunteer, the organization, the mission, our nations communities. A simple equation yielding dramatically different organizational engagement results.

My book Engaging the Head, Heart, and Hands of a Volunteer calls this leadership move the flip. In a typical recruitment interaction, the focus of the interaction is to ensure that the candidate meets the needs of the for-profit organization. When engaging volunteers in the mission of a nonprofit organization, the methodology of attraction, in contrast, encourages the interviewer to flip the conversation to ensure the focus remains on meeting the needs of the individual. When this intentional practice leads to purposeful placement within the organization, organic engagement occurs.

The focus on engagement does not stop with the attraction process in community involvement organizations. Jackson, who also is a recognized volunteer engagement expert from the UK, continues, This alignment of intrinsic motivations with meaningful work is adjusted throughout the relationship the volunteer experiences with the NPO. As their interests, needs, wants, and wishes change over time, the adept leader seeks to understand these changes and readjust the fit so the volunteer, the organization, and the mission all continue to reap the benefits of truly engaged talent.

What could corporate entities learn from this flip methodology? What role may the elevation of candidate intrinsic motivation in the prehire conversation have on future sustained team-member engagement? In what ways could this simple flip transform the entire current corporate recruiting practice to yield future engagement data well above 36 percent?

This flip may be the impetus to break the cycle of engagement insanity of the last two decades. Intrinsic motivation matters. Passion matters. Fulfillment matters. The heart is at the center of the engagement equation.

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"A total halt to new Protected Areas": campaigners issue Marseille Manifesto for the future of conservation – Survival International

Posted: at 9:04 pm

These Khadia men were thrown off their land after it was turned into a tiger reserve. They lived for months under plastic sheets. Millions more face this fate if the 30% plan goes ahead.

Survival International

Participants in the worlds first Congress to decolonize conservation have released a manifesto calling for a total halt to new Protected Areas which exclude Indigenous and local communities.

The Marseille Manifesto: a peoples manifesto for the future of conservation has been released today by many Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists and experts who gathered for last months ground-breaking Our Land Our Nature congress.

They also demand:

- that governments fully respect, protect and uphold Indigenous peoples land and forest rights, respect collective customary land and forest use by local communities, to ensure protection of that land in accordance with their wishes as the primary means of protecting the worlds biodiversity

- Governments and conservation organisations must acknowledge the huge toll that strictly protected conservation areas have taken on the lands, livelihoods and rights of many communities worldwide; they must make concrete plans for reparations of past wrongs, including through transferring control back to the historical and local guardians

- High income countries must cease funding conservation programmes which destroy local people and livelihoods, including by failures of FPIC, irrespective of whether this is intentional or not.

The manifesto calls for a conservation model that fights against the real causes of environmental destruction and is prepared to tackle those most responsible: overconsumption and exploitation of resources led by the Global North and its corporations.

The demand for a radical change to the current model of conservation has grown louder in recent months. The UNs Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment released a strongly-worded policy brief in August, arguing that achieving environmental goals demands a dramatic departure from conservation as usual." His brief calls instead for a radically different, rights-based approach.

Many organizations and institutions, however, claim to endorse these calls while simultaneously promoting aggressive fortress conservation projects. The European Commission, for example, talks in its Biodiversity Strategy of strengthen[ing] the links between biodiversity protection and human rights and the role of indigenous peoples and local communitiesbut continues to fund conservation projects in Africa that exclude them.

Likewise, 150 NGOs recently published an open letter calling on world leaders to put human rights at the centre of environmental policybut the group included WWF, whose secret war of funding vicious paramilitary forces has been the subject of multiple media exposs and human rights investigations.

WWF-funded guards in Gabon

WWF

Fiore Longo, head of Survivals Decolonize Conservation campaign, said today: Most governments and NGOs these days are good at producing nice-sounding rhetoric about respecting Indigenous rights. But the same people are promoting a massive drive to create new Protected Areas on Indigenous lands as part of the 3030 plan that constitutes the biggest land grab in world history.

We can see the same pretence in calls for Nature-Based Solutions to climate change. These are really just a new spin on what used to be called carbon offsets. Theyll allow Indigenous lands to be bought and sold, in order to permit the worlds most polluting companies to carry on polluting.

Only the full recognition of Indigenous peoples land ownership rights will prevent them from continuing to be the sacrificial victims of fortress conservation and Nature-Based Solutions. Its also a key step in addressing the biodiversity and climate change crises.

Our Land, Our Nature. The conservation industry has a dark side rooted in racism and colonialism that destroys nature and people.

Survival

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"A total halt to new Protected Areas": campaigners issue Marseille Manifesto for the future of conservation - Survival International

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Texas House proposes doughnut-shaped district to help GOP in Bell County – The Texas Tribune

Posted: at 9:04 pm

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In the latest example of creative map drawing in Texas redistricting sprint, Republican lawmakers have proposed redrawing the boundaries of one Central Texas state House district so that it is completely encircled by another.

This strange-shaped doughnut denies folks their voting rights, Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP, said of the shape of the districts. In the proposal, District 54 home to Killeen and Fort Hood is the doughnut and District 55 is the doughnut hole.

The doughnut district would be in Bell County, a traditionally red area that has trended blue in recent years as the diverse community around one of the nations biggest military installations grows. The combined Black and Hispanic population of those older than 18 in Bell County is nearly equal to the white population of the same age group. Dividing the county into House districts that keep Killeen intact could yield a district that Democrats could win over the next 10 years.

Under the current House map, Killeen whose residents largely voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 is kept together in District 54, which also includes the sparsely populated and safely Republican Lampasas County to the west. That district, which is currently represented by Republican state Rep. Brad Buckley, went for Trump by only 0.1 percentage points.

The new ring shape of District 54, which would split Killeen with District 55, would give Republicans a safer margin nearly 7 percentage points of voters who went for Trump.

This harms the city of Killeen and is really, enormously problematic when you split a community of interest like the city of Killeen, Bledsoe said of the proposal. The only motivation for chopping Killeen up is that [if they didnt], African Americans and Latinos would be able to elect the candidate of their choice.

In redistricting, a community of interest refers to a group that shares common concerns and could be similarly affected by lawmakers decisions. These communities can be defined along demographic, economic or geographic lines.

While Democrats and civil rights groups are upset about the district, one of the countys two Republican representatives expressed more muted misgivings. Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, who represents District 55 the inside of the proposed doughnut acknowledged in an interview that Killeen should ideally be kept whole in the same district, but said doing so would likely help create a district where a Democrat could win. He added that Killeen should also be in the same district as Fort Hood, a change he supports from the new proposal.

"You know, that's politics, Shine said. If the Democrats are running the show, they're going to try to write as many Democrat districts as possible. And when the Republicans are in control, they're going to do the same thing."

Shine also said hed have preferred to keep the districts as they are, where he has more Republican voters, but he supported the proposal to help protect Buckleys district. In 2020, his districts voters supported Trump over Biden by a margin of nearly 26 percentage points which would shrink to 10 percentage points under the proposed change.

I don't cherish the fact that I have to give up some of my strongest Republican precincts to make it happen. But that's politics," he said.

Buckley, who represents District 54, said the committee made the proposed map changes to account for population growth.

The doughnut-shaped districts were included in the most recent proposal approved by the House Redistricting Committee. The Legislature is in the midst of a 30-day special session to redraw political maps based on the census results, which found that 95% of Texas growth has been fueled by people of color. That draft can still change as it makes its way through the House and Senate before it is ultimately signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. The House is expected to vote on the map Tuesday.

Republicans, who are in power in both the state House and Senate, have so far put forth proposals to redraw the House, Senate and Congressional maps that entrench Republican strength for the next decade and reduce the number of districts where eligible voters of color make up the majority.

Ken Wilkerson, a councilman at-large for the City of Killeen, called the proposal a bold and uncloseted attempt to let Killeen know not only do we not matter, but they will see to it that The City of Killeens collective voice will not be heard for at least another 10 years."

This proposed map is an embarrassing, ridiculous example of what Texas legislators think of 153K people that do not look, live or think like the power brokers they associate with, Wilkerson, who is Black, added in an email to the Tribune.

In a committee hearing, Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, expressed concerns that the proposed map cracks communities of color in western Bell County, breaking up communities of interest and cracking communities of color in Killeen and the larger Fort Hood area.

Bell County districts have previously come under scrutiny for attempts to break up voters of color during redistricting.

A federal court in 2017 flagged nine districts in four counties, including Districts 54 and 55 in Bell County, where lawmakers diluted the strength of voters of color. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed most of the map to remain in place.

Considering the federal judges previous ruling, Shine said he predicted challenges to the district map could have some credibility.

The federal Voting Rights Act requires that opportunity districts in which more than half of eligible voters belong to a racial minority group and are able elect their preferred candidate must be drawn under certain conditions. The judges in 2017 found evidence of racially polarized voting and Black and Hispanic cohesion in Bell County elections, satisfying those necessary conditions for a coalition opportunity district where a combination of Black and Hispanic residents make up the majority.

But the federal court found that lawmakers split Killeen then to ensure both districts would remain Republican and voters would reelect their Republican incumbents. To make the current district in 2011, about 32,000 people from northern Killeen two-thirds of whom were people of color were removed from House District 54. They were replaced by 47,000 people from southwest Bell County, including Salado, which has historically voted Republican and has more white people than Killeen. These changes made it more difficult for Black and Hispanic people who made up 70% of the population growth in Bell and Lampasas counties between 2000 and 2010 in the district to elect their candidate of choice, the judges said.

The evidence does indicate that mapdrawers intentionally racially gerrymandered the districts to dilute the minority vote by moving minority population out of HD54 and moving Anglo population in, thus cracking and diluting the minority vote to ensure Anglo control over both districts," the ruling said.

The judges noted alternative maps would have created compact coalition districts where a combination of Black and Hispanic residents make up a majority of the electorate and vote together and kept the Black community in Killeen together. But those maps were not pursued.

For the first time in decades, federal law allows Texas to draw and use political maps without first getting federal approval to ensure the state is not discriminating against voters of color. The Supreme Court in 2013 gutted that federal preclearance requirement in the Voting Rights Act.

Since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Texas has not made it through a single decade without a federal court admonishing it for violating federal protections for voters of color.

The new proposal in Bell County raises a lot of red flags about intentional discrimination and vote dilution that could be brought before a court, said Michael Li, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center whose work focuses on redistricting.

It boggles the mind that they would yet again do this, Li said. And by doing so, it has a huge impact on communities of color in Bell County, and Killeen in particular.

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WMNF | Sustainable Living: Intentional Communities – WMNF

Posted: October 11, 2021 at 11:01 am

An intentional community is a group of people who live together and who regularly associate with each other on the basis of explicit common values intentional communities can exist in all different forms. Thats the definition of intentional community from Cynthia Tina, the guest on Mondays sustainable living (10/04/2021).

Tina (https://www.cynthiatina.com) is a coach for people looking for more of a sense of community. Cynthia helps grow and maintain a worldwide network of intentional communities and is the Co-Director of the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC).

Cynthia describes herself as a matchmaker for people who want to find their ideal community and a consultant for growing community projects: ecovillages, cohousing, coliving, communes, permaculture centers and more.

Cynthia grew up just outside of Boston and as she grew up she became curious about different ways of living.

I spent a lot of time outdoors in nature. I got into gardening and cooking food and made sure to read lots of booksat the age of 15, I visited my first intentional community in North Carolina called Turtle Island and from there I went on this journey, says Tina.

Ever since that first visit to the intentional community in North Carolina, Tina has traveled to many intentional communities around the world and has been getting involved with organizations that support intentional communities.

All intentional communities are unique in their own right, but they all consist of groups of people who share common values and genuinely care for each other.

When it comes to loneliness and helping people who suffer from anxiety and depression, Tina says intentional communities are a great way for people to get the support they need.

Intentional communities can be a great opportunity for many people to get some of those needs for connection and supportif you are living alone or living with your family you may find that joining an intentional community is a step toward having people around you who know you and you know them, says Tina.

There are even some intentional communities in Florida! Although the Sunshine State is known for its retirement communities, Tina says there are a few intentional communities in the state but hopes to see more in the future.

There are intentional communities in Florida, says Tina. I wish there were more since there are so many retirement communities and it would be nice to see intentional retirement communities, but theres a cohousing that just got started and also an ecovillage.

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WMNF | Sustainable Living: Intentional Communities - WMNF

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Communal Living & Cohousing – Types & Benefits of …

Posted: at 11:01 am

For most Americans, housing is the single biggest expense in their personal budget. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends more than 30% of its after-tax income on housing expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, and furnishing.For single people, the figure climbs to more than40% of after-tax income.

One way to reduce this cost is to share housing expenses with others. Doing this is one reason married couples tend to have lower expenses per person than single people. However, theres another way to share housing expenses thats open to both single and married people: cohousing.

Cohousing is an arrangement in which manypeople live together in a community, with small homes for each person or family and larger areas that are shared by all. People who live in cohousing arrangements can save money, share chores, enjoy group activities, and form lasting friendships.

Cohousing is a type of intentional community, in which people make a conscious choice to live together as a group.However, its notthe same thing as a commune, in which a group of families jointly own a plot of land and share all their income andother resources. Instead, cohousing ismore like a cross between individual and communal living.

The people in a cohousing community have their own jobs, their own private lives, and their own individual living space. However, they also share space such as a garden, a laundry room, and sometimes a kitchen with their neighbors. They also share the work of maintaining these shared areas and keeping the community running smoothly.

The cohousing concept originated in Denmark and made its way to the United States in the late 1980s.According to the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US), there are now more than 170cohousing communities in 36 states.

There are many different types of cohousing communities, from urban to rural. However, nearly all cohousing arrangements havecertain features in common:

According to the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US), cohousing communities can have anywhere from 7 to 67 individual units, but most have between 20 and 40. A singlecommunity can house a wide range of households, includingsingle people, childless couples, parents with young children, and retirees.

Specific types of cohousing include:

Being part of acohousing community offers many benefits. It makes it possible to enjoy a home with more amenities than you could afford on your own; it helps youprotect the environment by sharingresources with the group; and, most importantly, it gives you a chance to be part of a caring community where neighbors look out for each other.

When you look just at the upfront cost of homesin acohousing community, this housing optiondoesnt actually lookany cheaper than buying a housesomewhere else. In fact, aFAQ on cohousing published by Cohousing Solutions, a consulting service for developers of cohousing communities, admits thatcohousing homes typically cost more than other new townhouses or condos of similar size.

However, you have to remember that when you buy intoa cohousing community, you arent just getting a home of your own youre alsogettingaccess to all the facilities in the common house and the shared grounds. For just a little bit more than youd pay for a small home somewhere else, you get the kind of space and amenities thatnormally come with a much larger and more luxurious home, such as a big family room, a pool, a huge yard, a workshop, and a playroom for kids. So overall, cohousing gives you more bang for your housing buck.

Living in cohousing can save you money in other ways, too. For instance, you can save on the following:

When you put all these savings together, theycanoffset the added cost of buying a cohousing home and then some. According to the FIC,asurvey of 200 cohousing residents found that living in cohousing saved them at least $200 per month on their entire budget. For some residents, the monthly savings came to more than $2,000.

Sharing resourcesis an inherently eco-friendly idea. For instance, when people in cohousing share a laundry room, they eliminate the need for each of them to have a separate washer and dryer. In turn, this cuts down on the natural resources and energy that it would take to build all those machines. The same goes for all the other resources that cohousing communities share, from garden spaceto power tools.

Cohousingcan also benefit the environment in more specific ways, such as:

One of the biggest perks of living in cohousing is the chance to be part of a community where peoplelook out for each other.Its easy to find a babysitter or someone to water your plants while youre away on vacation. Seniors who have trouble shoveling snow or moving furniture can find a younger person to help them out.And, in a close-knit community, you have a better chance of knowingsomeone who can advise you on a job that requires special skills, such as replacing a faucetorupdating your computer.

Along with giving each other practical help, people in cohousing often get togetherjust for fun. In addition to havinggroup meals, they play music together, watch movies, put on plays, and share celebrations such as weddings and birthdays.

Although living in cohousing promotes closeness, itcan also provide more privacy for families. For instance,if the commonhouse has a sharedplayroom, kids can take their noisy or messy activitiesin there, where they wont disturb parents who are trying to work or relax at home. And when families have visitors, they can put them up in the common houses guest rooms,so they dont haveto shuffle people around or have a crowd in the bathroom every morning.

When you live in cohousing, you shareownership of the common house and grounds with all the other residents. To make this arrangement legal, the owners can form a homeowners association (HOA), a condo association, or a housing cooperative. All the owners aremembers of this group andshare the responsibility for maintaining the common areas.

Cohousing communities have different ways of dividing up this work. One way is toset up work teams that are assigned to handle specific jobs, such as preparing meals, cleaning the common house, caring for plants, and making repairs.In some cases,each person works at each of these jobs in turn;in others, specific people sign upto do the jobs they prefer. Cohousing communities can also holdwork days throughout the year when everyone pitches in to tackle a specific job, such as raking and bagging leaves in the fall.

Members of a cohousing community also have to share the decisions about maintenance, upgrades, and community activities. Manycommunities do this througha process calledconsensus decision-making, in whichpeople just keep talking and refining their viewsuntil they reach a solution everyone can agree on. This takes longer than having a simple majority vote on each issue, but it does a better job ofreaching decisions that all the residents are satisfied with.

All in all, joining acohousing community is a big responsibility. You have to share in the work, attend regular meetings, and be prepared to work through disagreements with others. But if living in cohousing is more work, its also more play. You get to share meals, parties, games,clubs, and other activities with all the other residents a perk youre unlikely to findin a basic housing development.

If youre interested in joining a cohousing development, the easiest way to find one is through the Cohousing Directory on the Coho/US website. It lists all the cohousing communities in the country, sorted by state, including those that are just getting started. Each listing has some basic information about the community, a link to its website, and contact information.

You can also browse the sites classified ads. They list homes for sale in existing cohousing communities throughout the country, as well as new cohousing communities that are seeking members. You can also find professional services for people interested in building a new cohousing community.

If you dont live in the United States, you can try searching the listings ofthe FIC Directory. It lists cohousing communities in the United States and around the world, from Venezuela to Australia. You can also find listings forother types of intentional communities, such as communes, eco-villages, and Christian religious communities.

Finally, if you cant find any cohousing communitiesin your area, Coho/US offers information on how to start a new one. In an article called Getting Started, cohousing expert Rob Sandelin lists the initialsteps you need to take when starting a cohousing community from scratch:

Once youve taken care of these basics, you canget down to the nitty-gritty business of buying land, building homes, and dealing with all the legal formalities, such as setting up an HOA. There are many resources on the Coho/US website that can help with this process: lists of recommendedbooks, articles, names of cohousing professionals (such as architects and developers), and useful documents dealing with a huge range of topics, from financing to community gardens. And, if you have a problem these documents cant answer, you can join the Coho/USdiscussion list and pose your question to all the groups members.

Living in cohousing isnt for everyone. For some people, the amount ofwork involved in going to meetings and taking care of common areas is a deal-breaker. Others just dont want to be so closely involved in their neighbors lives. Its one thing to chat across the fence or exchange occasional favors, but its another thing entirely to share land and have dinner togetherevery week.

However, for those who crave the kind of close-knitcommunity that used to be a more common part of American life, cohousing can be a way to find it. It offers a chance to know your neighbors as friends, enjoying each others company in good times and helping each other with challengeslike a job loss or a new baby.Having this kind ofstrong support network makes it easier to get through troubled times and live a happier, healthier life.

Would you like to live in a cohousing community, or do you think its not for you?

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To Retain Employees, Give Them a Sense of Purpose and Community – Harvard Business Review

Posted: at 11:01 am

Most employers are anxious about the mass exodus happening from todays workplaces. Widespread conjecture about whats behind the Great Resignation ranges from people wanting more work flexibility and higher-paying jobs to simply being utterly exhausted from pandemic burnout. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 15 million people quit their jobs since April in the U.S. alone. Microsofts recent research suggests that 41% of workers across the world are thinking about quitting their jobs.

That means 59% of workers arent thinking about quitting. What can we learn from the organizations that are retaining their employees in this environment?

I recently spoke with six human resource executives from companies reporting that their organizations are not experiencing higher-than-normal attrition. I wanted to find out if there were any common patterns that shed light on what it really takes to retain talent in such a volatile time. Among the many insightful perspectives I heard, three practices appeared to be universal across these companies.

Leaders determined to stem the tide of talent defectionsby simply throwing money or perks at the problem could be surprised to learn theyre barking up the wrong tree. If youre genuinely committed to retaining your talent, youre going to have to dig a bit deeper.

The last 18 months have sharply awakened our innate hunger for meaning and purpose. Forced into self-reflection during extended WFH, workers have questioned the value of their work and the sense of meaning it provides. On top of that, the isolation of the pandemic has intensified our desire for authentic belonging. Recent research from McKinsey confirms that these two factors are playing a substantial role in the current spike in attrition. The top two reasons employees cited for leaving (or considering leaving) were that they didnt feel their work was valued by the organization (54%) or that they lacked a sense of belonging at work (51%).

One HR executive I spoke with shed light on the importance of both:

In our organization, weve emphasized both purpose and belonging because they must go hand in hand. We want people to feel like everything they do matters not just to the organization, but to each other. We want people to feel a shared sense of purpose as well as fulfillment in their own purpose. We refer to it as solidarity.

All of the HR executives cited purpose as fundamental to a culture that retains top talent. My own research bears this out. In my 15-year study of more than 3,200 leaders, when purpose was activated in actions, not just words, an organization was three times more likely to have people treat each other fairly and serve the greater good.

One important factor that jumped out at me among the HR leaders I spoke with was that they all emphasized that their cultures of solidarity were established long before the pandemic struck. One said, If you didnt have a purposeful culture, you definitely were caught short. And if you were, theres no quick panacea to fix it. But for goodness sake, dont waste another minute waiting to start creating one.

When I asked what practical things their organizations had done to manifest cultures of solidarity, they offered the following ideas:

While many organizations are busy purpose washing to create the illusion of meaning, genuinely purposeful organizations embed solidarity right into management practices. Create simple approaches that teach managers how to shape meaningful conversations, asking how their people are progressing with their professional or personal aspirations.

One HR leader told the story of a manager whose team member had a side hustle as a beekeeper. During one-on-one conversations, the manager made a point of asking, Hows the honey business going? Taking interest in an employees whole life strengthens their sense of belonging and belief that they matter. Rather than worrying that such personal interests might distract from work efforts, smart managers realize that by taking an interest in the whole employee, you ensure that they bring that same creativity and energy to their day jobs.

Employees connection to your organizations purpose is as unique as the employee themselves. Acknowledging when someone personally embodies your organizational purpose provides wonderful reinforcement and reminds others to be intentional about doing the same. One HR leader got emotional telling me the story of an employee who did just that:

Were in healthcare [pharmaceutical], so everything here is about patients. One of our employees, whose mom had recently lost a long battle with cancer, volunteered at a local hospice center, and advocated to our corporate philanthropy group to donate funds to upgrade the facility. And they did. That kind of thing happens regularly here. Our corporate communications group did a video interview on the story so our 40,000 employees could feel good.

The isolation of working from home has fractured our sense of community. Fostering belonging requires creative efforts to help people feel connected without adding to zoom fatigue. Worse, because weve lost many of the spontaneous interactions that can happen in common gathering places, remote work has narrowed our digital interactions to almost entirely with the colleagues we work with most, further fragmenting our organizations. One company paid for coffee gift cards for employees to reach out across team boundaries and make connections with new colleagues, broadening their networks and helping them maintain a wider organizational perspective.

According to the McKinsey research noted above, many employers are mistakenly assuming the primary motivations behind mass departures are employees desire for higher-paying jobs or greater work-life balance and flexibility. But those factors werent nearly as important to people as employers thought, compared to the more relational factors like a sense of belonging or having trusting teammates. That said, employers who mishandle the design of workplace experiences may be asking for trouble.

While nearly 60% of employees in the McKinsey survey said they were unlikely to look for new jobs, it doesnt mean they wont start. Sixty-four percent of employers expect the current level of attrition to stay the same or increase in the next six months. And with more companies offering remote work opportunities that dont require people to relocate from homes and communities they cherish, poaching talent will be easier. One HR executive told me, Ive heard horror stories from my peers at other companies botching the transition to hybrid work with irrational one-size-fits-all mandates and policies for return-to-office requirements. All that does is signal to your employees that their needs dont matter. Another said:

This is a time to listen to your employees to understand their deeper needs. You cant have the same policy for a single mom with young children as you do for the older, extroverted employee going stir crazy at home. The organization should set parameters for whats best for the business, and then allow local managers to use as much discretion as possible, engaging their teams in how best to meet the requirements of the business while also meeting the needs for flexibility on the team.

Here are the practical ways these organizations are involving their employees in creating a positive workplace experience:

Its critical that any policy you put in place has a direct tie to the customers you serve. If your WFH policy offers minimal or no flexibility and your justification for requiring everyone to be back in the office is something vague like, Its better for our culture if people are physically together, expect people to resent and likely resist it. If you want to minimize disappointment, tie whatever guidelines you put in place to how you serve customers and how you make or deliver products or services, and demonstrate how certain forms of collaboration are measurably enhanced by in-person work.

People feel greater ownership over policies they help create, which strengthens adherence across the organization. Further, when others dont adhere, peers are more likely to graciously call it out. One HR leader said:

Our leadership team crafted a set of broad guidelines around the minimum degree of in-person collaboration we felt was needed to ensure our customer responsiveness and speed to market. We trained department heads and managers on how to interpret those guidelines for their respective work, and then empowered them to use their discretion. We gave them tools to engage their teams in defining practices they felt were fair and flexible while still adhering to our corporate guidelines. Its worked beautifully.

Instead of making career and professional development a separate experience, build learning and advancement right into peoples roles. One organization started a program they called Walk in their shoes, intended to strengthen connections between employees from different parts of the organization. It consisted of weekly peer-mentoring sessions between people in adjacent functions that regularly worked together. The HR executive from that company told me, Our initial intention was to make sure cross-functional collaboration remained strong despite remote work. What we hadnt planned on was how much people would learn in the process, changing how people perform their own jobs, and opening lateral career paths we hadnt considered. Building on the unexpected success, they now offer job shadowing of higher-level jobs and training programs taught by those whove completed rotations. Its become a regular part of the companys career-development efforts.

If theres anything the last 18 months have taught us, its how impactful even the smallest acts of kindness can be, one HR executive told me. The pandemic has created a greater appreciation for our shared humanity, offering endless opportunities to care for those who are struggling. But in the workplace, its not always natural or comfortable for managers to express care they may feel awkward or unclear on boundaries. But demonstrating care doesnt have to be intrusive, and not every employee will want or need the same degree of care.

Another HR leader reflected, Our people are really hurting. Theyre tired. Showing compassion had to become central to our leadership almost overnight. Weve empowered our managers to step up: sending meals to peoples houses, helping with rent or childcare, or allowing someone to cry when they reach their wits end. For leaders today, empathy and care are now table stakes. Here are some ways to enable leaders at all levels to do it well:

Give managers discretion and resources to offer small acts of care as the need arises. Gift cards for food-delivery apps, handwritten notes of appreciation or concern, and acknowledging moments like birthdays or anniversaries all send messages that you see people as more than workers.

Many people will keep a positive game face, hiding their struggles, not wanting to ask for help. For some, its pride. For others, they dont want to burden already stressed teammates with their concerns. When others see you asking for help or appropriately acknowledging difficulties, it shows them its okay for them to do so.

In the McKinsey research cited above, when asked, Are you experiencing higher-than-normal voluntary turnover?, 47% of employers said no. If youre fortunate enough to be in that group, dont assume things cant shift. Find out what it is thats keeping people with you and do more. And if youre not in that group, look deeper at why not. Stop throwing money or superficial perks at the problem and start shifting your culture to one people are thrilled to work in instead of one they cant wait to leave.

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PepsiCo Launches A More Than $5 Million Initiative To Help Young Adults From Chicago’s South And West Side Communities Access High-Quality Careers In…

Posted: at 11:01 am

CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- PepsiCo today announced the launch of its new initiative, Pathways to Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) by PepsiCo Stronger Together, a more than $5 million dollar investment that aims to put nearly 3,000 young people from Chicago's South and West Sides on the path to high-quality careers over the next five years. In partnership with leading community-based organizations including Imagine Englewood if, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC), Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), UCAN, Chicago Jesuit Academy (CJA) and Chicago Cubs Charities, this research-based, community-informed program will offer workforce readiness through career exposure, paid work experience, skills training and employment opportunities. and employment opportunities.

According to a 2020reportby Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism disseminating a 2019 studyby the University of Illinois at Chicago,Black and Hispanic Chicagoans aged 16-19 are approximately twice as likely to be out of school and unemployed compared to their white counterparts. Systemic barriers to high-quality jobs contribute to persistent rates of young Chicagoans neither in school nor employed. PREP by PepsiCo Stronger Together represents a strategic shift to an equity-centered model of community engagement to address these disparities and build pathways to workforce preparation.

Ultimately, PREP's objective is to place youth on a path to high-quality careers which includes a continued commitment to direct hiring across PepsiCo. As part of PREP, PepsiCo will provide support for young people from the South and West Side communities to gain early exposure to careers, paid internship experience and credentials in fields that are relevant to the company's Chicago operations with the intention to help young people build careers with PepsiCo and other Chicago employers. PREP builds on PepsiCo's recent 3-year pilot program with City Colleges of Chicago which resulted in nearly50 scholarships and more than 20 students receiving employment or work experience at the company.

"Chicago's South and West Sides are full of talented young people who thrive when provided access to career opportunities and skills training," said Neil Pryor, President of PepsiCo Beverages North America, Central Division. "Chicago offers one of the most diverse, talented workforces in the United States. Increasing access to high-quality careers across industries enables economic growth in South and West Side communities and also supports a sustainable pipeline of high-potential, diverse talent for PepsiCo's local business. PREP by PepsiCo Stronger Together is our commitment to inclusive community partnerships which help young people in Chicago realize their potential."

PREP's initial programming with leading community-based organizations anchored in or primarily serving the South and West Sides of Chicago includes:

"PepsiCo intentionally worked with community partners who are the backbones of the South and West side communities to inform their workforce readiness support and NLCCC was proud to be PepsiCo's advisor," said Rodney Brown, Executive Committee and Co-Founder of NLCCC. "When our youth and young adults see what's possible for their future careers, they gain the confidence to pursue those careers -- and programs like PREP give them the inspiration, support and skills they need to achieve their dreams. PepsiCo understands that deeply intentional, sustained community engagement leads to both better community outcomes and business outcomes and I encourage other Chicago companies to do the same."

Pepsi Stronger Together provides support to those in need while building bridges between community, education, and sustainability in communities across the U.S. and now is expanding through a Chicago-specific program, PREP, which has been developed by passionate employees and Chicago Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) including the company's Black ERG, MOSAIC, and Hispanic ERG Adelante which will be activating community service events with UCAN and Imagine Englewood if.

PREP builds on the company's 120-year history and investment in Chicago. This program is an extension of PepsiCo's Racial Equality Journey, a more than $570 million set of commitments over five years to create opportunity and empower Black and Hispanic people in our workforce, business partnerships and communities.

PepsiCo would also like to acknowledge the partnership of the non-profit organizations that participated in the development and design of PREP Stronger Together including: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago Cares, Growing Home, Hope Technology and Education Center, Imagine Englewood if, Metropolitan Family Services, New Covenant Community Development Corporation, Southwest Organizing Project, Stay Lit, Step Up, Teamwork Englewood, and UCAN.

For more information on PREP by PepsiCo Stronger Together please visit http://www.pepsistrongertogether.com/communities/chicago.

About PepsiCoPepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana, and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands. For more information, visit http://www.pepsico.com.

About Imagine Englewood ifImagineEnglewoodif(IEi) is a youth development nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen and empower the Greater EnglewoodCommunity. Since 1997, IEi has implemented this mission by teaching local youth and their families healthy living, environmental awareness and positive communication skills. IEi offers year-round enrichment programs for youth ages 6-18 that include the Imagination Explorers After-School Program, Kids on the Move Summer Day Camp, all girl Progressionista Book Club and teen leadership focused Growing Citizen Leaders program. Their dynamic enrichment programming includes healthy cooking, fitness activities, science experiments, art, hip hop dancing, gardening, career exploration, leadership training, field trips and various cultural experiences. IEi also hosts health and wellness events on vacant lots, offers gardening skills classes, community service projects, and organizes Greater EnglewoodUnity Day the largest community cleanup on the South Side of Chicago.

About UCANFounded 152 years ago as a Civil War orphanage, UCAN now annually serves and impacts more than 21,000 at-risk youth and families. UCAN has worked toward their vision that "Youth who suffer trauma can become our future leaders." UCAN advocates for youth, families and communities by providing opportunities that change lives through impactful programs, consistent presence, and unrivaled diversity and inclusion. Since March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, UCAN has been a critical provider of essential services. In collaboration with a community partner, UCAN provided 2,400 boxes of food and emergency funding for individuals and families, and engaged nearly 9,000 people from across Chicago and the world by hosting and co-hosting nearly 50 virtual webinars, conferences and meetings as part of the agency's pivot to remaining a visible force in service to community.

About Chicago Jesuit AcademyChicago Jesuit Academy (CJA) is a loving and academically rigorous tuition-free Catholic elementary school for students and families from resilient communities impacted by historical disinvestment. CJA supports and advocates for its students and alumni, as well as other children of modest means as they progress to and through college prep high schools, post-secondary education and the transition to meaningful careers and citizenship. CJA invites students to become persons for others who aspire to be open to growth, loving, intellectually competent, religious and committed to doing justice. Learn more at https://www.chicagojesuitacademy.org/.

About Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)The Southwest Organizing Project is a broad-based organization of 45 faith institutions, local schools, and other institutions in the Southwest Chicago communities of Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, West Lawn, West Elsdon, and Ashburn. The organization builds community leaders who work on many initiatives , including the development of affordable housing, violence prevention, access to education , and protection of immigrants' civil liberties. One of SWOP's recent key housing initiatives is a partnership with United Power for Action and Justice and Brinshore Development to lead the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign, a multifaceted initiative to strengthen the community through improved affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets.

About North Lawndale Community Coordinating CouncilThe North Lawndale Coordinating Council is a group of North Lawndale stakeholders, including community-based organizations, business owners, elected officials and individuals, that have come together to guide comprehensive planning and implementation in North Lawndale (Community Area 29). NLCCC develops innovative solutions to improve the built environment and to increase the capacity of local organizations to make a positive impact on the community. The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council improves the physical, economic and social fiber of the local community through strategic and comprehensive planning, civic engagement and implementation of stakeholder-driven initiatives. NLCCC continually develops and execute bold community-driven solutions with the input of an engaged community that questions assumptions and challenges the status quo.

About Cubs CharitiesCubs Charities is a nonprofit that mobilizes the power of sport to champion youth, families and communities. Cubs Charities' work is focused on sports-based youth development and academic programming, investments in safe places to play and strategic grantmaking. Since 2009, Cubs Charities has invested more than $40 million in people, places and programs across Chicago. Cubs Charities is a leader among professional sports teams in its creation, execution and delivery of quality, sports-based youth development programming. Today, Cubs Charities' portfolio includes programs that provide more than 26,000 children and youth with skilled coaches, quality programming and safe and accessible places to play the game.

Jessica OrtizRise Strategy GroupC: 312-550-0102E: jessica@risestrategygroup.com

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She’s a woman of color. People don’t believe her. – Politico

Posted: at 11:01 am

With help from Rishika Dugyala and Teresa Wiltz

POLITICO Illustration/Photo by Getty Images

What up Recast Family! The Senate skirts economic disaster by agreeing to a Band-Aid measure to stave off the debt ceiling debacle ... until December. Vaccines for kiddos may be available sometime after Halloween and comedy legend Dave Chappelle faces backlash. But first, lets kick things off with a look at the historic mayoral election in Boston.

Bostonians will make history in less than four weeks when voters head to the polls to select their next mayor. The candidates vying for the job are two women, marking the first time in the citys history the winner wont be a white man.

Race and identity are factors in this campaign too.

One of the candidates, Michelle Wu, Boston city councilor and a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, has become something of a media darling. She amassed a broad, multicultural coalition, picking up big-name endorsements including acting Mayor Kim Janey, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The other candidate, Annissa Essaibi George, like Wu, is a Boston city councilor and the daughter of immigrants. Theyll go head-to-head in whats essentially a runoff in this nonpartisan election on Nov. 2.

Much of the media attention focuses on the historic nature of the campaign between two women of color. But Essaibi George, who identifies as Arab American, has had to spend time on the campaign trail defending her identity.

Take this headline from the NewBostonPost last month: Boston Mayoral Candidate Says Shes A Person Of Color; Is She? (Her father immigrated to the U.S. from Tunisia in the 1970s. Her mother was born in Germany in a displaced persons camp to Polish parents.)

We chop it up about her identity, her plans to invest in Bostons marginalized communities and the endorsement Wu picked up this week from Massachusetts other senator, Democrat Ed Markey, whom Essaibi George endorsed early in his Senate primary last year.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

THE RECAST: So much has been made of the history-making nature of this campaign and the fact its not going to be a white dude leading the city. How have you sat with this notion that you can be breaking the mold here?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: I haven't spent a whole lot of time sort of sitting with it. Theres a lot of work to do. [But] I'm excited about my experiences as a woman, as a mother, as a former teacher, as a small-business owner, as a city councilor, as a community member, as an Arab, as the daughter of immigrants. Certainly being a woman who would be the first woman elected to lead the city is a privilege and an honor for sure.

Every week, we sit down with diverse and influential characters who are shaking up politics.

Who should we profile next? Let us know. Email us at [emailprotected].

THE RECAST: During the primary, you had to keep reminding people that you were a person of color. Was that odd territory for you? Has this come up in your previous campaigns?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: I'd say that it is not unusual territory for me. As an Arab there is always and has always been a pretty long-lived experience of: How do we identify? How are we recognized?

It's one that in some places we count; in other places, we don't count. That's certainly a struggle that I've dealt with my entire life. Its a struggle that my father certainly experienced as an Arab, as a Muslim, especially as an immigrant to this country.

For me, it leads to a very specific appreciation for the ability I have and the privilege I have of being able to exist in lots of different rooms. ... With it also comes a certain level of maybe incompleteness and not having a room in which I fully exist.

Arabs ... we don't have a box to check [on the census]. It's something that we fought for over the course of the last census, as the former president did not appreciate or want to identify or count Arabs across this country.

I think that's important for us to be seen, to be counted, to be realized and recognized. When I first joined the council in 2016, I was welcomed by the electeds of color to join them in their work [focusing on] people of color. I was really excited. I felt included.

Mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George speaks to reporters as she casts her ballot in a polling place on Sept. 14 in the preliminary election. | AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

THE RECAST: I understand you did not check a census box for the reasons you just explained.

ESSAIBI GEORGE: No. I wrote in. I felt it was an effort that Arabs across the United States participated in.

THE RECAST: Your opponent is racking up a whole bunch of endorsements recently, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley, acting Mayor Kim Janey and of course Sen. Elizabeth Warren was an early supporter of Wu. But a lot is being made of Sen. Markeys endorsement after you supported him and his Senate campaign. Did he give you a heads-up that he was endorsing your opponent?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: He had called me the night before that went public.

Boston mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George speaks during a city council meeting in Boston on Sept. 15. | AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

THE RECAST: Do you feel like that endorsement will impact the campaign going forward?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: First, I don't think it impacts me at all. Each of these endorsements represents the endorsement of one person. I am proud to have had the endorsement of some significant and large unions and organizations here in the city.

Specific to Ed Markey, certainly disappointed to hear of that endorsement, especially considering that my opponent did not have the courage to stand and endorse him in his reelection last year. And you know, I don't know whether she was afraid of the Kennedy factor, or something like that, in that [2020 Senate] race.

So disappointed, but certainly not discouraged.

When Sen. Markey was endorsing Michelle, [while] they were rolling that announcement out, I was in Roxbury [a predominantly Black neighborhood] surrounded by a citywide coalition of supporters announcing our Equity Plan. That's who I am. I'm very proud of my reputation of being engaged, of being present, doing the work and showing up in Boston's neighborhoods to do the work with the community.

Mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George greets campaigners outside a polling place in Boston on Sept. 14 in the preliminary election. | AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

THE RECAST: You're pledging $100 million in investments would go towards marginalized communities. How specifically would that pledge impact these communities and close the staggering wealth gap that Boston has been trying to tackle for decades?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: Very simply the goal is to close the wealth gap, create opportunity, create opportunities for investments in our communities of color, particularly Black community here in the city of Boston.

We've seen the true impact that homeownership can have on any family, on any community, on any child. And I am very much focused on and investing in homeownership opportunities for our city's residents with a particular focus and concentration on our Black and brown communities with a finer focus point on supporting first generation homebuyers.

[Theres] very direct correlation between homeownership and family stability, homeownership and academic and educational achievement. It is also part of a larger effort to make sure that communities are able to build wealth and be very much forward thinking.

THE RECAST: How does your plans make inroads in this regard when real estate inside of Boston city proper is so astronomically high?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: The cost of living and being in this city is something that we always have to work to drive down, especially the cost of housing in this city. But that's a really difficult objective for me. And certainly as mayor, we'll work towards it every single day.

The answer to the cost of living in the city is really to be very intentional about helping families and helping our city's residents build wealth, access workforce and career opportunities and jobs that pay, making sure that they have access to programs that can retrain and uptrain individuals so that they can make much higher wages.

Boston mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George carries pizza she made at a campaign stop on Sept. 13. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images

THE RECAST: Another big policy difference between you and your opponent is policing. She seems to be much more willing to make cuts to the budget, the size of force. You have been public about not wanting to do this.

ESSAIBI GEORGE: I am opposed to the idea of divesting in public safety. It is so important that we are always thinking about the safety of our residents and working to end violence across our neighborhoods in every corner of our city.

Absolutely, we need to make sure that we are investing and fulfilling the promise of community policing in our city, that our force is reflective of the great diversity of the city, that those that are working in our Boston Police Department reflect the population that it serves.

I think it's also important that we are continuing to do the reforms and participate in greater accountability: that we are implementing the change that we need to around our own internal affairs department; that we are doing the work that we need to around reforming the gang database; that we are embracing and fulfilling the recommendations of the Boston Police Reform Task Force. That is work that I have been focused on.

And I think unfortunately, because I am interested in investing in public safety in our city, that oftentimes my commitment to reform and greater accountability and greater transparency is overlooked.

Boston Mayoral Candidates Annissa Essaibi George (left) and Michelle Wu spoke during a Haitian-American demonstration on Sept. 24. | AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

THE RECAST: Boston, for better or worse, has this reputation of being racist. So how does an Essaibi George administration go about combating this reputation?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: Unfortunately, racism still exists in our city. And I'm committed to working every day to make sure that we are eliminating it from our systems, whether it's housing or education, or policing, or transit, or even how we respond to the calls that fill a pothole, repair a sidewalk or rebuild a playground.

It starts on Day One by building a Cabinet that is diverse and reflective of this city. I will also make sure that we have a director of equity within each of our Cabinets. Its so important that we arent just saying weve got someone focused on the work, but that we are making sure that that work is embedded in the responsibilities we have in leading the city across all of those sectors.

We've got a lot of work to do around racial discrimination in our city moving forward and making sure that we are not just saying it out loud, but committed to breaking down that systemic racism that exists.

THE RECAST: Do you think that can actually change the minds of some Bostonians though?

ESSAIBI GEORGE: It's hard work, but we've got to do it. And I believe that those are the places where we can make that impactful change and work every day to change minds and hearts. But we've got to lead with the policy and as mayor, that's what I'll do.

OK fam, as many of us head into a three-day holiday weekend, let us be among the first to wish everyone a cheerful Indigenous Peoples Day this Monday. Bostons acting Mayor Kim Janey signed an executive order and called on residents to use the holiday as a moment of reflection of historic policies that actively suppressed Indigenous cultures. Now to some quick pop news updates and your Weekend To-Dos!

With dimming hopes of getting voting rights laws enacted this year, activists see a new opening on making changes to the Senate filibuster. POLITICOs Zach Montellaro has more.

Facepalms of the Week:

Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize for literature this week, considered the most prestigious literary award in the world the first Black writer to win the prize since Toni Morrison. Make sure you check out his books.

Jasmine Sullivan curated this months Harpers Bazaar playlist and it is everything.

TikTok of the Day: From across the pond the struggle of being a British Latina.

Struggles of being a British Latina #latintiktok #londoners #billingual #britishlatina

MEA CULPA: An earlier version of this newsletter misstated the Boston news organization that wrote about Annissa Essaibi George's identity as a woman of color. It has been corrected.

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When everything you need is here – The Boston Globe

Posted: at 11:01 am

What if you lived in a neighborhood that was designed so every one of your daily needs jobs, stores, cafes, libraries, parks, public transit was within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from your home? Youd be healthier because of all that exercise. Youd be safer, with fewer cars rushing through the roads on their way to someplace else. Youd be happier because youd know your neighbors and be more engaged in community gatherings. Youd even be richer without so much driving, since the cost of owning a car is about $9,000 a year.

This is the promise of the so-called 15-minute neighborhood or 15-minute city, a vision of urban planners that began in Paris and is now on drafting tables from Barcelona to Bogota. Its a beautiful, even utopian idea, easy to dismiss as a boutique fancy unattainable in a car-centric society such as ours.

But now The Boston Foundation has issued a practical guide outlining the policy changes this region would need in order to realize the dream of 15-minute neighborhoods. Prepared with the Massachusetts Housing Partnerships Center for Housing Data, and others, the report moves the needle from blue-sky thinking to a blueprint for action.

Most of the suggested steps are unsexy zoning changes: making it easier to mix residential and commercial uses; building denser housing around transit stops; lifting minimum parking requirements (which drive up the cost of housing as well as gobbling up public space). Many shift the focus from parochial control to broader regional standards. We think the state needs to take more of a role, said Luc Schuster, the reports coauthor. We cant keep going into these one-off, town-by-town fights over every zoning change.

In January, Governor Charlie Baker signed an economic development bill that takes some important first steps. The new law requires every community within a half-mile of a commuter rail station to create at least one district of reasonable size for multifamily housing. It lowers the threshold to approve zoning changes from a two-thirds vote of town governments to a simple majority. And it dedicates funds to encourage small-business development and neighborhood entrepreneurs, especially women and people of color.

For Lee Pelton, the new president and CEO of The Boston Foundation, the 15-minute neighborhood is a way to redress the damage from years of exclusionary zoning policies, especially in the suburbs, which enforce racial segregation and widen the wealth gap by making homeownership unaffordable. The importance of these neighborhoods is not [just] in their convenience, he wrote in an e-mail. Its in their opportunity to create more equitable communities.

In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo was inspired to redesign housing and mobility patterns by the imperatives of climate change. She created hundreds of miles of bike lanes through the city, turned a highway along the Seine into a pedestrian pathway full of quayside cafes, and converted 185 public school buildings into seven-day community centers to encourage local gatherings. The plan has had its glitches, but its popular enough that Hidalgo is using it to launch a campaign for president of France.

Perhaps because of its association with Paris, the 15-minute city concept carries a whiff of elitism or at least of croissants. But its actually older, industrial gateway cities that are best positioned to develop such neighborhoods. These are places that once practiced 15-minute principles as a matter of course: dense, multifamily housing, mixed commercial and residential uses, apartments above stores.

The 15-minute lifestyle is so attractive that these districts can run the risk of gentrification. The report points to Jackson Square in Roxbury as one area where high demand is making the neighborhood more expensive and whiter. Schuster says the way to avoid creating 15-minute islands of privilege is to make sure more towns do their fair share to build desirable communities for a range of families and incomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated new ways of thinking about the role of neighborhoods and public space; repurposing streets for outdoor dining is just one example. The pandemic has also caused many people to rethink the pace of their lives, to pause for the small pleasures, to value spending more time closer to home (say, within 15 minutes). These are not just personal choices but matters of public policy, made easier or harder through intentional design. The Boston Foundation report can help make sure these expansive new ideas outlast the pandemic.

Rene Loths column appears regularly in the Globe.

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When everything you need is here - The Boston Globe

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