As long as we care about each other and the place we live, every community has the ability to transform itself from being a simple aggregate of people to being a real community.
(Paraphrase of K.P. Wilkinson 1991)
When diverse people, interact with each other, they begin to understand the needs that are common to us all, to develop a sense of common identity, and to gain a level of control over the decision-making that affects their lives. People acting together have proven over and over that they have the power to improve the quality of life in their communities.
When groups collide?
When two or more groups conflict, the root is often found in conflicting goals, between those seeking to protect and preserve community quality and resources, versus those seeking to use local resources (workers & natural resources) for economic development.
Conflict is not necessarily bad:
Conflict can be useful in preventing “groupthink,”—rushing to conclusions in order to fit in or to make quick work out of a complicated task. Outside groups (even dissenting members) can be very good at pointing out any weaknesses or holes in group ideas or planning. The benefits of community work clearly outweigh the challenges. Group work tends to benefit the entire community and to bridge any differences that may divide us, e.g., goals, class, or race.
Be healthy; Join a group.
Community action in almost all circumstances is essential to healthy communities and to the social and economic well-being of the people. Overwhelming evidence from all over the world shows that individuals with weak social ties to their communities have higher rates of nearly every disease.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist.
This factsheet was written by Ginny Downie of Fredericksburg for her website www.justthoughtyoushouldknow.org