January 25, 2017 by Leslie House Service 0

The Day After – Now What?

The Day After – Now What?

The day after the election (most of) the world woke up stunned by the victory of Trump.  And the U.S. went about life in a dazed silence.  As we gradually began to shake it off, the energy went from shock to fear, bemusement, and anger.

Actually… the anger had been brewing awhile for a lot of us.  But the billionaire’s victory was a gut punch to the rest of America.

Protests sprang up throughout the country and the world, and seemed to culminate with the inaugural festivities.  Some boycotted watching the ceremony on television, others went to join in protest with likeminded, on the streets of D.C.   The day after inauguration the women’s march,  spilled out and off it’s intended route and took over the city’s streets.  A metaphor perhaps, of the intersecting issues that birthed November 9th.  And while it was an impressive showing…

Now what?

See the truth is, too many folks went back home, satisfied with riding the high of that weekend.  And there’s enough of them satisfied with just showing up, to stagnate movement for the rest.  So what will YOU do to keep things moving…  Why not start by checking your own backyard.

What’s your street look like?  Who’s driving up your property taxes and why?  Why is there another dollar store, when a grocery store is needed?  What’s on the agenda of the city council?  Why can’t I see how my money as a taxpayer, is being used where I live?  All questions we ask, or should ask ourselves but are usually too busy or scared to get them answered.  And fail to acknowledge that if we don’t start in our own backyard, in our neighborhood, in our city, then all that marching and protesting was just a block party.

“Leave it if you don’t need it.  Take it if you need it.”

There’s a fence behind my building, surrounding an empty lot that folks walk through as a shortcut.  After seeing this video, I started hanging old coats on it for anyone who might need one.  You may not be able to do this in your neighborhood, but can be done anywhere you see a need (gloves, hats, scarves, and blankets too)!

“Instead of being punitive, and giving somebody a ticket… why don’t we give them a better opportunity.”

The Albuquerque public works department,  United Way, and the St. Martin’s Hospitality Center have found a way to employ panhandlers and homeless.  How can we come together to do something similar in our cities?

Food Insecurity

How much do you know about food insecurity, and what can be done to address it?  According to Walk Score , Indianapolis is tied with Oklahoma City, as the worst city with access to a grocery store (within a 5 min walk). With a national average of 15.4%, Feeding America  states that 19.4% of Indianapolis and Marion County faces food insecurity.  In 2016, Dr. Shellye Suttles was appointed Food Policy & Program Coordinator in the Office of Public Health & Safety, to work with communities .  She will be part of the Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge: Kickoff Panel & Discussion  February 8th at 6:00pm.  This event is for anyone who wants to know more about food insecurity, and how to get involved with its eradication.  Click the link above, to register.  The event is free and open to the public.

Joyce Moore, Director and Programs Manager of Urban Patch will also be a panelist for the Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge Kickoff.  “…using holistic models of social, environmental, and economic community development,” Urban Patch  has been responsible for a number of projects in the Mapleton Fall Creek Area, like Park Garden at the corner of 30th and Park Ave.  The organization is also focuses on house preservation, and revitalization of vacant lots.  Click their name for more information.

You also may have notice the brightly painted newspaper boxes in parts of town.  Thanks to Sierra Nuckols, a Hanover College student and Desmond Tutu Youth Fellow, those containers have been upcycled to serve as emergency food pantries in some of the hardest hit food desert communities.  Her inspiration: the Little Free Pantry in Arkansas.   For more information on how to get involved, or to request a box in your area, go to the Community Food Box Project facebook page.

Wanting to start a community garden in Indy?  Click here  to see a map of available vacant lots.  And if you’re not from Indy, go to your local .gov site to search for info.  Or, just google key terms: available lots community garden (your city).


There are plenty of other ways to get things done in your community.  But don’t forget the resources your tax dollars fund,  that are provided by your local government.  Report endangered persons, stray animals, abandoned homes and lack of street lighting.  Be persistent and keep track of your calls.  And if all else fails, use social media.  You’d be amazed how quickly things happen when you tweet the mayor about trash collection, or share a state rep’s a post.