Engaged Citizens. Innovative Ideas.


On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, approximately 40 Heights residents gathered at the Fellowship Hall in Disciples Christian Church to participate in a discussion-based forum where small groups engaged in conversation about the importance and role of civic engagement. Special thank you to Councilman Tony Cuda and Jen Holland (Reaching Heights, CH-UH PTA, Building Heights) for their opening remarks!

While every group had sparkling dialogue around why civic engagement matters to them, how they first took steps to get involved in the community, and how to encourage others (especially younger generations) to get involved as well, we recognize that our event isn’t intended to “solve” anything, but, rather to spark ideas, to plant seeds, and to connect Heights residents with each other and build community.

A few suggested highlights and action steps that came out of each group’s discussion:

BLUE GROUP: Encourage more face-to-face meetups and conversations. Bridge the divide between the schools and the community to get more students and their families involved.  Maybe a book club focused on Susie Kaeser’s book Resisting Segregation.

GREEN GROUP: Build trust with each other through engaged dialogue.  Our world feels very divided but the more we can talk to each other and understand each other’s stories the more cohesive we can become.  Also, understanding what’s on a ballot and what the impact of voting means on your community matters a great deal.

ORANGE GROUP: No one should feel “bullied” into civic engagement — and/also civic engagement can manifest in a multitude of ways.  Groupthink makes it seem like there’s a “right” and a “wrong” and nothing in-between, which shuts down dialogue and widens the divide.  Civic engagement is being open to dialogue and working together.  They’d also love to bring youth/student into the mix to learn more about what they think and how they see civic engagement factor into their lives.

PINK GROUP: They note that people engage in issues that impact them directly — and, in turn, their participation in these issues can have an impact on the outcome or next steps of that issue.  “Squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  The more you speak up, the more change you see.

RED GROUP: There may be many issues we care about but we have to be mindful of our resources (time, money, health, other obligations) when getting directly involved.  They note that we can’t take on every cause that matters to us but if we can identify specific causes that matter to us the most, that’s a place to start.

ALL GROUPS: The theme of the night was community, community, community: get to know your neighbors, get to know people who care about what you care about, be less combative and more collaborative, and find ways to bring younger residents and students into the dialogue.  The better we know each other, the stronger our community can become!

Word jumble from all of the groups’ notes.


Here are some additional ideas for action steps:



Books we recommend:

Podcasts we recommend:

Access the full Civic Engagement Survey Report here.