Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Goodenough, Lecturer IV in Arts and Ideas, Residential College
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Residential College, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 5
The topic of my research is “lifting every voice”: a closer look at how individual voices can be amplified in local government to create widespread change. The project looks deeper at community organization at a local level using organizations aimed at reforming the idea of a town meeting on a national level. By examining different counties that these organizational programs have been implemented in, such as Surry County, Virginia, we are hoping to draw conclusions on the most effective way of community organizing at a local level to promote amplification of individual voices within low income communities. Through weekly meetings with my mentor, websites, databases, and books, I am piecing this information together in order to write a script for a video essay, which will be combined with photos, videos, and interviews. This video will be spread to promote the idea that this action must be taken at local levels with help from powerful individuals. I have found that the best way of amplifying individual voices is a reformed town meeting using electronic means, where people are divided into what Donald Anderson calls an Assembly, groups of 50 people with one leader and 7 subsections with their own leaders. Each group has individual advocates who come together and discuss changes that must be made in communities. These findings promote a coherent and concrete method of organizing people in low income areas. Although complex, these organizational structures must be implemented in order for people to participate directly in their government.