WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

"Let's Talk Economic Opportunity" with Tools for Social Change

Jul 24, 2017


The group Tools for Social Change is launching an anti-poverty project in partnership with the City of Geneva. “Let’s Talk Economic Opportunity” kicks off Tuesday, July 25th at 6:00 p.m. at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Khuram Hussain is a professor of education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a member of Tools for Social Change.


“It’s essentially a community self-study. We are going to train members of the community to answer questions about themselves and use those answers to deliver to the city recommendations for economic opportunity especially to those most economically marginalized in the city.”

In addition to providing a platform, the project aims to provide the city with action items for the city’s annual retreat in January which can be incorporated into the economic component of the city’s comprehensive plan in 2018. The group believes that the lived experience of city residents documented by city residents may prove a better source of information than what might traditionally come from outside consultants. It’s a model that has been used previously to inform the city’s comprehensive plan in land use issues through the series of “Big Talk in the Little City” sessions.

“We had an incredible turnout. We trained over thirty facilitators. We were able to get into many different sectors of our community. We were at barber shops. We were at the free lunch program. We were at the Hispanic church. We were at places that included voices that don’t always serve as the centerpiece of a conversation about land use.”

Tools for Social Change will kick off the discussion tomorrow evening with the question, “What does Geneva want to know about itself?”

“If you simply come to meet people, to make connections, to develop a relationship with the people that are in the room, that will be enough. Whether you’re an introvert, whether you’re an extrovert. Whether you’re a landowner, or you’re a renter. There are people you have not interacted with, people you have not talked to and when the two of you cross paths, cross voices, cross ideas, something new is going to happen. I can promise you that. And, you do not have to come with solutions. You just have to come with yourself and a sense of care for community. Because, at the core, this is about building community.”

“Let’s Talk Economic Opportunity” happens at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church on Clark Street, Tuesday, July 25th at 6:00 p.m.