On Tuesday, the University of Baltimore hosted a city council panel. It was a great way for the UB and Baltimore city community engage with our city council members. One question brought up the lack of civic engagement - citizens need to show up, vote, participate, and communicate with the communities they live in.
Councilman Brandon Scott added that it's more than just complaining to your representative. If a person lets him know about an unkempt lawn, he always asks then if they reported it to 311. If a person tells him about a crime they've seen - did they call the police? He made the point that "there won't always be a Brandon Scott," and that citizens need to know about the tools that exist, so they can take charge and inform the right agencies.
He's talking about information literacy: Do we know where to find and report information? Do we know what to do with the information we have? Or how to use the services and agencies to improve our communities?
Take a moment - know your representatives, but also know actions you can take in addition to talking to them.
Some useful resources:
Find your elected officials
Baltimore City - How Do I? (Services for residents)
Baltimore City - Operation Crime Watch
Baltimore County - File a Report