One year ago, we started an experiment: to give New Yorkers the power to decide how to spend $1 million of their tax dollars on projects in the neighborhood.
That experiment, Participatory Budgeting, was a huge success. Over 3,000 people participated, we received nearly a thousand ideas for projects in the community, and our small voting sites were overwhelmed with eager residents wanting to be part of what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action.” The seven projects with the most votes – projects for local schools, libraries, parks, and streets – received City funding and are moving forward.
Now we are starting again, with another $1 million and your great ideas. Like last year, the whole process depends on you. The best ideas and energy came from the “neighborhood assemblies,” big community meetings where residents share their ideas for projects to build in our neighborhood. So please come out to a neighborhood assembly in the next few weeks to give your ideas, and help us build on this new form of democracy.
- September 24th, 6:30 PM, Carroll Gardens Library, 396 Clinton St. (at Union St.) RSVP here
- September 27th, 6:30 PM, PS 154, 1625 11th Ave. (at Windsor Pl.) RSVP here
- October 1st, 6:30 PM, PS 230, 1 Albemarle Rd. (at McDonald Ave.) RSVP here
- October 3rd, 6:30 PM, Greenwood Baptist Church, 461 6th St. (at 7th Ave.) RSVP here
- October 15th, 7 PM, Bais Yaakov Day Care Center, 1371 46th St. (at 14th Ave.) RSVP here
If you didn't participate last year, or want to be reminded of the fun, check out our new video.
One thing that makes Participatory Budgeting great is that it brings new people into community discussions. One voter at the Windsor Terrace Library said, “I've lived in America ten years and this is the first time I got to vote in anything.”
This year, we hope to engage more young people in Participatory Budgeting. At each neighborhood assembly we will have a break-out group for youth where they can discuss their ideas for projects in our community with their peers (generally between ages 12 - 18, but anyone is welcome). So please encourage your children to join us. And starting this year, residents 16 and older will be able to vote on the final projects!
We are going to need a lot of help pulling together these historic assemblies (and throughout the process). If you would like to volunteer, either to help spread the word about the assemblies or to work at one the assemblies themselves, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see you at one of the neighborhood assemblies. Please RSVP here.