We at WNYC and Gothamist are starting a new project devoted to building up our civic know-how. We want your questions on how to be more civically involved in New York City, and how all New Yorkers can have a voice—a true role—in the way this town functions.
Let me explain.
On the one hand, we know there are many of you taking to the streets in protest or donating your time and money to the issues and candidates you care about ahead of the midterm elections.
But on the other hand, we’ve heard from lots of folks that you want to get more involved in civic life but haven’t yet found a way in (we even did a survey and a call-in show about it). Or you know how you want to contribute to the city—or just your own block—but feel stymied by the process required, or unsure of who to convince, to change something.
Many of us don't even vote—New York consistently has some of the lowest voter turnout in the nation.
We get it. Getting involved requires investing time and showing up. Just ask anyone who has tried to advocate for less nonsensical school districting, speed cameras on city streets or a refurbished playground (um, got a few years?). Are you wondering why Clinton Hill has no bike lane? It’s in large part based on who attended public meetings about it.
But we think it’s worth it, and that’s where this project comes in. We’re dedicating a reporter — me — to answering your questions about how to be a more informed and engaged citizen.
From now until November 6, I want your questions on how to navigate civic life in New York City, including questions on voting and elections. My goal is to demystify the processes for civic participation, and tell the stories of other New Yorkers trying to get involved. To be clear, I’m not here as an expert. I’m working for you for the next two months, investigating the answers. I’ll likely pull in some of my colleagues to help.
Let’s start by casting the net wide: What questions do you have about civic participation in New York City that you’d like us to answer? Share them in the prompt below and we'll work to answer as many as we can.