An Obs-led journey to address social issues in inclusive, fair and sustainable ways
Observatory has always been known as somewhat alternative – and on 23rd October the community did the alternative thing: they called a community meeting to discuss social issues in Obs, with a view to listening to all the voices and to coming up with a way forward ….perhaps even an innovative alternative to the usual talk / talk / quick fix solution / fizzle out and back into the same story again approach.
“Housed residents blame us for the crime.”
“There are more and more people coming to live on the streets of Obs because they are being fed every day.”
“The litter from those living on the streets is disgraceful.”
“Homelessness is not a crime but the result of a failure in society.”
“Those living on the streets are addicts, they need help.”
“I don’t feel safe in the public spaces of Observatory any more.”
“It is not safe to live on the streets – I have been raped three times.”
“There are so many people with serious mental health issues in Obs – because of proximity to mental healthcare service providers – but why don’t they help these people?”
“There will always be poor people.”
“The system has failed us all.”
“What is happening in Obs is just a reflection of what is going on in wider society.”
“I pay my rates and taxes and I don’t like my neighbourhood looking like a refugee camp.”
These are just some of the voices that are heard in the diverse neighbourhood of Observatory – perhaps you also have an opinion that is not described above?
So, with the 36 people present at the Community Centre – and with the help of independent facilitator Andrew Boraine – those present discussed going on a journey together. They agreed on some values and principles; agreed that an independent facilitator was needed to manage the logistics of the journey; agreed that Obs residents (both formal and informal) are all invited on this journey, that an Advisory Group would be formed to support the facilitator and agreed that Obs residents were committed to making our neighbourhood a great place – where safety, respect, responsibility and team work were the order of the day.
Journeys take preparation. The first Advisory Group meeting is going to be held on Saturday 6th November 2021 at 11h00 – 12h00 at the Community Centre. This group of Obs residents will advise the facilitator, communicate with residents etc. As the group is currently being formed, others are welcome to join.
Most journeys also require people to take action – so the first Action Group meeting will be held on Saturday 6th November 2021 from 10h00 -11h00. We hope to act on a few of the suggestions stemming from the 23rd Oct meeting. Again please come along if you are interested in being involved in local actions tackling social issues.
You can read the notes from the meeting here: https://obsid.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/The-Obs-journey-on-social-issues-notes-from-meeting-held-23-Oct-21.pdf