Lauren Cliggitt is an active community organizer in her West Philadelphia neighborhood. CPI has shown Lauren the power of informed residents. It has taught her that when residents are empowered with knowledge, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Lauren helped found the community group Neighbors for Healthy Community Development (NHCD) NHCD is a grassroots group of homeowners and renters. Their goal is to promote a healthy, fair, and inclusive neighborhood. Recently, Lauren and NHCD have been voicing concerns about local development projects.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the development, but it also affected NHCD’s ability to organize. Before COVID-19, Lauren created and distributed informational yard signs to her community. The signs were made to help gather community feedback. Now, NHCD is ramping back up to ensure that the development will better meet the needs of the community.
We will continue to work with community members and any other resources to help ensure this development will better meet the needs of the community. Lauren Cliggitt
CPI gave Lauren a deeper understanding of the planning process. It gave her insight into the city she lives in and advocates for today. She is now more informed on ways to promote smart, community-oriented development. This has influenced her approach to organizing and activism.
Photo Credit: NHCD Instagram
A broader goal of Lauren’s is to bring together the West Philadelphia community. She would like to start conversations about uniting West Philadelphia’s community groups. This would include RCOs (registered community organizations) and other neighborhood organizations. Uniting these entities would create a more organized and cohesive community voice. It would also ensure that they are working towards common goals, not against them.
The most important lesson Lauren learned from CPI was the power of educated citizens. Informed residents can create an impact that affects their community in the long-term. This has helped inform Lauren as a founding member of NHCD. She strives to provide others with the tools and resources to affect positive change.
If she had all of the resources she needed at her disposal, her ultimate goal would be to hire a professional group of community organizers. These professionals could reach out to marginalized groups who are not typically involved, but are greatly affected by, the planning process. Additionally, they would work to unite West Philadelphia’s community groups.
CPI provided Lauren with a deeper insight into the planning process. It has also given her new tools and resources to help guide development in her area. In an effort to help her community, Lauren has passed on the knowledge, tools, and resources from CPI with NHCD.