By Outreach Committee member Chris Featherman
The Participatory Budgeting Outreach Committee has been out and about in Cambridge gathering residents’ ideas. Since the idea collection phase began on June 1st, Committee members have sponsored tables at the Cambridge River Festival, Fresh Pond Day, and a Cambridge Youth Soccer tournament in Danehy Park.
This Saturday, June 18th, you can find them at Hoops ’N’ Health, an annual sports tournament and health fair held at Hoyt Field. Throughout June and July, members will also be discussing PB in Cambridge Public Library branches as well as youth and senior centers across the city. Through outreach this summer, the Committee hopes to get as much participation in the PB vote this fall.
Beyond spreading the word, outreach also means listening and learning. As a volunteer committee member, I have found collecting PB ideas to be a great way to discover what matters to Cambridge residents and how they see the city.
Ideas for better lighting on bike paths, additional facilities for seniors, and more pedestrian zones, among others, suggest residents hope their city could become more accessible and sustainable without losing its identity. PB is a democratic process, and essential to it is collecting ballot ideas.
By participating in that process, I am learning that when we share ideas for city improvements, we also share ourselves. We communicate our visions of how we can live better together. Taking part in that conversation motivates me as a volunteer, and I look forward to working with the Outreach Committee over the coming weeks to continue gathering as many ideas as we can.