MLK Day: Together We Imagine Beauty and Create Solutions
This week we observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day and celebrated the ways his words and actions supported civil rights in our country.
The Fargo Project has definitely benefited from his dream that people of all colors, ages, backgrounds and cultures would come together to make their communities better.
From its start, The Fargo Project imagined a new way to shape storm water basins across the city. As it did this, it also strived to find a more inclusive way for city residents to influence the projects that impact them.
Instead of creating a plan and asking for input, our organizers built partnerships and asked community members to identify solutions. We intentionally have sought out ideas that are friendly to the environment and the cultures represented in Fargo.
One of our key goals has been to engage underrepresented populations in the process. For the World Commons Garden, we invited the apartment residents surrounding Rebanus Park to assist with the planning. Small group conversations with these residents influenced the master design; their children helped design the natural play area.
The project family tree has included more than 100 interested community groups and people. They have worked together to imagine beauty and to create solutions. Deep listening and input will continue to influence the ways the space is used and maintained in coming years.
As King said: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Keeping that in mind, The Fargo Project has (among other things):
- Demonstrated a new way to plan community projects by asking residents, first, what they want and need
- Broken down community interest group silos
- Created space that welcomes events and programs focused on cultural interests
We’re proud of what we’ve done and look to another quote from King as we move forward:
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”