There’s a gaping pothole on your street...
Every time you drive over it your car bottoms out, loudly scraping the pavement until one day your bumper falls off. What can you do?
Wait for the pothole to fix itself?
Find a new way home?
Take action! Call city hall, write to the newspaper, or post dozens of comments on your mayor’s Facebook posts with pictures of the crater-sized pothole ruining the cars in your neighborhood. Believe it or not, you are now civically engaged.
Everyone has their own idea of what civic engagement is. Common ideas include: paying taxes, voting, doing nice things for a neighbor, and volunteering.
The definition the Common Project uses?
Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.
More than 200 years of American democracy have shown that civic engagement is required for individuals and communities to succeed. When the majority of individuals don’t engage, communities become splintered, community problems go unaddressed, and we all suffer. The Common Project expands the way we view our communities and our place in them. Everyone plays a critical role.
If you called your city hall, wrote to your paper, or spammed your now frustrated mayor the pothole probably would be fixed and you’d be a local hero. We all benefit from civic engagement, yet we’re taught to view it as an activity of pure selfless giving. The Millennial generation (born between 1980-1999), is changing the tide of engagement. While the generation has been criticized as being the “Generation of Me,” Millennials are replacing obligations with questions of “How can I truly make a difference? Is it possible to make government more responsive to my community’s needs?” Yes, Millennials are focused on experiences, but the generation is moving society from the ideal of duty to the pragmatic approach of 'doing well by being good'. The Common Project tells their stories.