The 2018 Citizen Team Lineup
Team “Motivate The Vote”
With voter & election information, develop a website that allows my team to send non partisan updates on upcoming elections & amendments. To begin with a “pros and cons” list of upcoming amendments, “text opt in” sending reminders about early voting and upcoming elections. Program the website via text “opt in” to send specific election related news (someone drops out, a millage is added to an upcoming election, etc.).
Using the voter data (which is public record) to reach inactive voters to build relationships in the community with voters about issues that are important to them in an effort to increase our abysmal voter turnout, and keep them active, with new purging laws on the books. Using voter data availability as an accountability tool – allowing (as an extended feature of “geaux vote”) for people to see the elections they have voted in.
Also encouraging precinct organization by inviting people to events in their precincts to raise community awareness on a host of local issues, getting their council person involved (a lot of people do not know who their council person is). Focus on educating the electorate from the bottom up – “get to know your local government” and the processes that make it work to help show current transparency that exists and work towards future transparency and participation in the process of local government. When people feel included, they feel empowered!
Team “Freetown Family”
Downtown Lafayette is made up of several neighborhoods that have historic identities and architecture which contribute to the overall character of our city. We are part of a resurgence in the significance of downtowns around the country. Like River Ranch, which has a carefully curated sense of community built on walkability, mixed-use real estate, and ‘Rhythms on the River’, neighborhoods in downtown are now contributing to our national identity as a progressive city.
One of these neighborhoods, Freetown, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places and is a big contributor to this resurgence. Its mix of demographics, simple early 1900s architecture, and zoned mixed-use properties (Acadian Suprette, Tammy’s, Blue Moon Saloon, Bordens) provide a rare mix of coveted downtown ambiance found in few cities. We would like to display a symbol of our pride, the neighborhood coterie symbol, in a permanent way to welcome everyone entering our neighborhood. This original metal art hung from various light poles in the neighborhood will declare to everyone that Freetown means creativity, artistic freedom, and pride in history. It also continues the theme of metal art from Jefferson Street in the heart of downtown and can serve as a catalyst for other neighborhoods in Lafayette to declare their pride. Welcome to Freetown. Won’t you be our neighbor?
Team “BARE Walls”
Through BARE Walls, we will “flip the script” on the common practice where businesses invite artists to hang work for free exposure. Often, artists may have work hanging in a business for months or years at a time without ever earning a dollar for this work. BARE Walls will allow artists to receive residual income for their work while also having their work be shared among more spaces, making direct relationships with businesses in the community.
BARE Walls would provide businesses with a turn-key service for having great art installed and rotated in their spaces every 3 months. Businesses will be able to choose from a handful of local, talented artists and will have multiple subscription plans to choose from, as well as the option to purchase. Some subscription levels would even include the addition of artist talks, art opening events or art classes where employees and customers could directly engage with the artist whose work is on display. We hope BARE Walls will provide a tangible and affordable way to support local artists while gaining a more beautiful and inspiring work-space. Our funding request of $2200 would go towards the start-up costs of the program. This would include signing up the first 5 businesses at a reduced rate of $50/month to increase awareness of the program. One hundred percent of the $50/month paid by the first five businesses would be paid directly to artists.
Team “Long Table”
As the national trend of civil discourse declines, having authentic cross-racial conversations is becoming increasingly more difficult. Without the ability to have open conversations, we further the divide with “the other side.” We believe there is an opportunity to unite our community through the breaking of bread. By leveraging our community’s unique relationship with food and sharing meals, we can break down walls and lead to impactful cross-racial conversation. When participants honestly exchange perspectives face-to-face, share personal experiences, and clarify viewpoints, our community moves one step closer to overcoming our division.
Participants from many facets of the community will gather to share a meal and engage in meaningful dialogue aimed at helping people overcome the hump of having their first cross-racial conversation. The community-wide effort is designed to bolster understanding in challenging times. Our goal is to equip them with the necessary tools and resources to navigate difficult conversations; using food as a commonality and familial bind that creates space for trust and an honest exchange of ideas and experiences. We know this will not create immediate solutions, but through these meals, we invite discovery, the reevaluation of assumptions and the improvement of race relations.We strive to create authentic human connection and engagement through conversation. Through these unique experiences, we hope to attain our goal to “move people along the continuum from uninformed to informed, from informed to concerned, and from concerned to active.
Team “Eyes Of The Sun”
Eyes of the Sun mural project consists of installation of murals of the poem, “Eyes of the Sun”, written by incarcerated youth in the Lafayette Parish Detention Home. Local visual artist Justin Robinson will lead in designing/installing the mural to celebrate the juvenile students proving that when we focusing on our education and being positive we can and will be successful. The Eyes of the Sun poem will be written out and signed “Written & Directed by LPDH Incarcerated Youth. The mural would serve as proof to youth in our community, that when you focus on your education and being positive you can and will be successful. Giving credit to the youth that authored the poem while incarcerated shows youth in your community that that if the students that wrote Eyes of the Sun can be successful, so can they. In 2015, I worked with youth incarcerated in the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home to create spoken word poem, Eyes of the Sun. The poem is written and directed by youth in the facility. Our goal for the project was to prove that when we focus on our education and being positive, we can and will be successful. Majority of the students were from groups in Lafayette neighborhoods that often do not get along. Lafayette youth have faced a number of traumatic incidents including an increase in gun related violence, bullying, as well as the stressful climate caused by numerous school shootings. Our youth are in need of support, reassurance that they are not alone and exposure to healthy forms of self-expression.
The mural would expose Lafayette youth to creative expression authored by students incarcerated in the local juvenile home. It would serve as proof that Lafayette Incarcerated youth were able to unite despite their differences to work together and that the perception of Lafayette incarcerated youth should not always be one of hopelessness and lost causes, but one where everyone can have a chance if given an opportunity. The Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home student’s testimony through poetry would be shared with the Lafayette community and all others that visit.
Team “Bayou Electric Vehicles”
Our team is resubmitting our proposal for installing public electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Lafayette. EVs are gaining popularity as the future of personal transportation. EVs offered by several major automotive manufacturers, including Tesla, Chevrolet, Nissan, BMW and Toyota. By next year, Volvo will only produce EVs. DOE says there will be about 8 million EVs on the road by 2025. We want to amp up Lafayette’s adaptation of EVs by installing public EV charging stations!
Public EV charging stations do several things to benefit the adaptation of EVs locally. First, they Increase public education about EVs, which spurs consumerism. Second, they reduce something called range anxiety for EV drivers (e.g. you are more comfortable driving your EV when you know there are various locations to recharge your battery). Through a similar mode, EV charging stations attract tourist (e.g. if you are driving an EV from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge then, why not stop off in Lafayette and charge your car up with some lovely LUS electricity and visit their local businesses?). Public EV charging stations can also be helpful for gathering data on station usage which, helps in designing efficient infrastructure. This data can also be shared with local dealerships to “motivate” customers interested in EVs. We are pitching installation of level 2 chargers at our local businesses and public spaces. A level 2 charger can get a good charge in about 1.5 hours and are available for $500 from Home Depot.
Team “Litterbug Elimination”
Our team is creating a “throw your trash” video using songs, rhymes, and motions to raise the awareness of each citizen’s responsibility to leave a space/place cleaner than they found it. The goal is to make it educational but also fun for all ages. Part of the plan is to promote the video through Project Front Yard and have it accessible to the schools, local and across the state through youtube. The intention in targeting children of all ages is that they’ll jump on board, make a game of picking up and proper disposal of trash, and then make sure their parents are participating. We’re also including reducing, reusing, and recycling, (what is it, how do we do it, and why it’s important) in the video.
Team “Tell Me More”
The Tell Me More Project is an opportunity for law enforcement officers and at risk students to partner with local performance artist facilitators (theatre, music, dance (movement), writers, poets) to engage in productive dialogue about their lived experiences with youth-police relations, cultural conflict, and personal/professional struggles, and forge mutual understanding through the creation of an original performance piece. The project also provides an opportunity for a public forum at the culmination of the project as the community will be invited to watch and respond to the themes addressed in the performance piece.