Bringing about social change in your community might require multi-level government approvals, but it usually begins with just one citizen.
For instance, some of Park City's most impressive accomplishments were instigated by individuals whose passion motivated others and whose commitment overcame a long list of bureaucratic obstacles.
In the past, citizen instigators have highlighted the need for affordable housing, pushed for a skate park and helped establish a dog park. In more recent years, it was a neighborhood mom who kicked off the effort to make Park City more walkable. Her grassroots effort paved the way for more pedestrian tunnels and bike paths that have quickly become an essential part of the landscape.
Last week, the power of one was once again on display. Standing on a flatbed trailer alongside a large chuck of concrete salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after 9/11, Raette Belcher asked fellow Summit County residents to help complete her dream of building a memorial park in Salt Lake City. Belcher is already well on her way to making that dream come true, having secured one of only 11 such artifacts in the country and bringing it to Utah.
Summit County voters are gearing up for municipal elections in six local towns. And while we are busy asking the candidates what they plan to do for their communities, we should also be asking ourselves, how we can contribute, too. In many ways, our city council members and mayors are just facilitators. They rely on their constituents to help set the agenda.
As the campaign season heats up and we find ourselves taking a critical look at what our cities and towns have accomplished, we should also ask ourselves, what still needs to be done. But that's not quite enough. Change needs a champion. There are lots of armchair political analysts, but what we need are activists. Pick an issue there are plenty. Study the alternatives, rally like-minded citizens, outline some constructive alternatives, then storm city hall. You might find the gates are not only open, but the welcome mat is out.