- What interested you in working with U of T researchers on this project?
Synergy. I had worked with Blake, Suzanne and Imara on other projects and through that discovered the kinds of shared values and principles that formed the foundation of this partnership.
Our shared interest in community development practices, equity and systems change made designing this particular project exciting: we all felt that introducing CCA could have a profound impact on the things each of us is passionate about.
- How does this initiative help advance your work with C3?
C3 was created to introduce the Connected Community Approach as a framework to foster collective action across issues, sectors, and scales.
We believe this kind of collective action is critical to advancing a more equitable society. The community-centred resilience lens and the evidence calling for a more collaborative/collective approach provide a perfect platform for multiple players from grassroots to policymakers to begin thinking of a new paradigm to achieve real impact.
The Connected Communities in a Time of Physical Distancing research provides the evidence we need that community-based social infrastructure is critical to community-led responses during a crisis. The Connected Community Approach: Citizens and Governments Working Together for Community-Centred Resilience provides the link between the problem (disconnect between community and government responses to shocks) and CCA as a way to structure potential solutions. This will advance our work by
a) generating interest in CCA,
b) providing an evidence base that lends credibility to the approach, and
c) helps us frame our thinking and design proposals/strategies in ways so that decision makers can see the opportunity.
- What’s next for C3 and the Storefront?
What's next is helping people (grassroots, organizations, institutions, government actors) working toward strengthening communities to reconnect, regroup, and bounce forward once the pandemic is over.
We have designed a three-day process that we will be taking to various communities so that they can reflect on their learnings from COVID begin to think about the social infrastructure that needs to be created for collective action to ongoing stresses and to prepare for the next shock event. We are currently seeking funds for this approach so we can offer it in marginalized communities without the communities themselves having to pay. The Storefront will be a pilot site.
C3 is working with Imara and the Residence Lab on a two-year deep listening process to ensure our work moving forward is grounded in Black Liberation and equity on the ground experience, principles, and practice.
- What are the most important things you want communities to know about this work?
This work introduces the Connected Community Approach which:
- provides a framework for people/organizations/institutions to work together toward a more equitable society
- supports by the community for the community decision making and action
- is context specific and adaptable to address community specific priorities
- is a long term strategy that builds on strengths over time
- does not download responsibility to the community
- sees government/organization/institution roles to invest in the supports communities need address ongoing stresses and acute shocks