Civic Engagement Decoded
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April/May 2016 Community Voices Orchestrating Change Issue 10 Volume 2
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Neighborhoods Partnership Networks (NPN) mission is to improve our quality of life by engaging New Orleanians in neighborhood revitalization and civic process.
The Trumpet | April/May | 20162
NPN provides an inclusive and collaborative city-wide framework to empower
neighborhood groups in New Orleans.
Find Out More at NPNnola.com
NPN Board Members
Victor Gordon (Board Chair)Ryan AlbrighCarolynn CarterKaren ChabertCatherine FlowersAlonzo KnoxWendy LakerSylvia Scineaux-RichardKatherine Prevost
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Have you ever asked the question what is the purpose of life? Or have you been a part of something that seems larger than life? Something that you put everything into only to realize that none of it was about you, but about what you could offer to the process that would contribute to the end goal. Even more, what if there was no end goal that you walk away with the
same level of confusion and naivety that you had when you started? Where would you go from there?
This is the lesson that I have come to terms with this year. The journey and path of understanding this city and its mysterious cultural enclaves called neighborhoods continue to take me down roads and hills, streams and valleys, mountain tops and alleys that I was not equipped or prepared to experience but it has built a warrior, a fighter, a compassionate resident who has a genuine love for community. A person who no longer question why, but why not and begins to research has it ever been done before and by whom.
The summer I entered the Musician Union Hall on Esplanade Ave I walked into that large hall, filled with engage residents, amazed and focused. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to say the least all eventually leading me to believe that I could unravel the community engagement onion. Initial I was in unaware about how neighborhoods can sometimes be environments poisoned by racism, sexism, political ineptitude, and financial corruption that could prevent them from fulfilling their shared vision of existing. As I grew to understand the onion there was also a need to recognize that each layer had a specific purpose and role in (re) building sustainable and just neighborhoods.
In the last 10 years Ive had the pleasure of working with 43 unique neighborhood leaders who served as board members, 25 people on staff at one time or another, and over 185 interns from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. The lesson that I will take with me is that there is disconnect between the theory and practice of community and citizenship. That for civic engagement to work and have long-term impact we must undertake the difficult work of defining civic engagement as it is defined by those who are utilizing it. In addition there is a need to also be present to the values that are essential to the well-being of any civic constructhumility, efficacy, and empathy.
I implore the leadership of this city to understand the onion of our neighborhoods as we continue to build resilient communities. That we know that the future of civic engagement in the city will depend on how well we are able to define what we mean within the local and institutional contexts of civic engagement.
I am thankful for every experience that I have had and acknowledge and it is those experiences that are adding layers and stretching us to our next resilience.
Timolynn Sams Sumter
Timolynn Sams Sumter
Letter From The Executive Director
Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward. Henry Ford
The Onion of NOLA Neighborhoods
3The Trumpet | April/May | 2016
The Trumpet Editorial BoardDavid Baker Louisiana WeeklyRachel GrahamNeighborhood Development Foundation (NDF) consultantChristy ChapmanAuthorKevin Griffin Clark2k Photo NOLA & GraphicsMatt HendricksRide NOLALinedda McIver AARP Louisiana
Julia RamseyOrleans Public Education Network (OPEN)Gretchen ZalkindNOLA TimebankKeith HoltBike EasyAshley ThomasTotal Community Action (TCA)Ethan AshleyUrban League of Greater New OrleansGeoffrey BrienLouisiana Public Health Institute/ TFL
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The Trumpet | April/May | 20164
Be Aware of Tax Identity Theft
Biking Against Traffic is Dangerous
By Deborah Banda
When you ride against traffic, you're riding the wrong way. Someone driving a car makes a right turn from a side street, driveway, or parking lot, and
they drive right into you. The person driving didn't see you on your bicycle because they were looking for on-coming car traffic only on their left, not on their right. They had no reason to expect that someone would be coming at them from the wrong direction.
Riding against traffic may seem like a good idea because the person riding the bike can see the cars that are passing them, but it's not. The above scenario is the clearest example of why this is a dangerous activity. In urban communities across the nation, biking against traffic is consistently one of the top 3 reasons for crashes involving someone on a bicycle.
Don't ride against traffic. Ride in the same direction as traffic. Lastly, riding the wrong way is against the law. You can get ticketed for it, and you will be at fault in the event of a crash.
Stay safe, stay legal. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
Every two seconds, someones identity is stolen. And with tax season upon us, con artists are stealing Social Security numbers to file for fraudulent tax refunds. Its a big problem. To date, the IRS has identified around 15 million false tax returns alone. For more information on the latest trends in tax identify theft, check out AARPs
Fraud Watch Network. And you can also view targeted information and a special video devoted to tax identity theft awareness at www.aarp.org/scamalert.
The Warning SignsHow do you know if youre a victim of tax identity theft? If someone files a
fraudulent tax return using your identification, and then you file your return, the IRS will contact you by mail. The letter will state that more than one return was filed using your Social Security number. Note that the IRS will not contact you by phone, email, text or social media. You can check the legitimacy of any IRS mailing by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Youll also get an IRS notice if someone uses your Social Security number to get a job, and the employer reports that income to the IRS using your number. The letter will indicate that you did not report all of your earnings on your tax return. Another warning sign could be receiving a W-2 or Form 1099 from an employer for whom you didnt work.
If You Fall Victim If you become a victim of tax identity theft, here are the steps to take:
Contact the IRS immediately using the contact information on the notice you received. Youll be asked to fill out an IRS Identity Theft affidavit, Form 14039.
Contact your bank and credit card companies and inform the credit bureaus of the fraud. Ask one credit bureau -- Experian, TransUnion or Equifax to place a free fraud alert on your report, and the others will follow. A fraud alert lasts 90 days, but you can renew it.
Access your credit report free from all three credit bureaus. Ask the bureau that places your fraud alert how to obtain your repo