Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,
Beemer
dr_tectonic

Doing Something About It

I'm on a citizen advisory board for my city. It's been going for a while, but for a variety of reasons it's been hard to really get traction. Back in February, City Council came and met with us and told us how much they valued and wanted our input and that they wanted us to feel empowered and not roadblocked by process.

So when the protests started and everybody started sharing links to all these great resources about the problem of police violence and why it happens and how to fix it, I said fukkit, and unilaterally started drafting a policy recommendation document. Because I went to MIT, and drinking from a firehose is a thing I learned how to do.

And what the hell, I had spent all of that week and the week before reading and reviewing IPCC chapters for work during the day, so my open-your-brain-and-inhale-all-the-words muscles were all warmed up and working anyway.

Three weeks ago I worked on it a bunch over the week and had a draft roughed out going into Saturday. I worked all day Saturday, and ended up starting over and reorganizing it. Ran out of gumption and did nothing on Sunday, then took that Monday off from work and spent all day busting my ass to get it finished before D&D that evening. I ended up with a 14-page document I sent to the chair less than 48 hours before our monthly board meeting.

It was pretty well received, and long story short, instead of spending most of the meeting in group process wringing our hands about What To Do, there are now 8 people signed up for the committee to develop the draft further. We had the first committee meeting last Wednesday (three other people plus me) and got a good start on questions to let us start honing in from general to specific. In writing them up, I found out some useful stuff about our local situation, and I'm pretty hopeful that by the time we're meeting with the chief of police at our board meeting next month, we'll a start on some actual policy recommendations that will result in for-real change at the local level.

So I feel pretty good about that.

The moral of the story being I guess that if you even vaguely approximate being the right person in the right place at the right time, just jump in and Do The Thing. You don't need an official designation or blessing or special dispensation, what these kinds of things really need more than anything else is some kind of movement and follow-through in roughly the right direction. So if you think you can do that, fuckin' Do It.

(The special bonus reward is that all of your angst and anxiety about the situation will immediately evaporate, because now you are Helping and Being Useful at it.)
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