SPRINGFIELD — The newly appointed Civic Engagement Task Force will host a virtual roundtable on Thursday, where members hope to hear from residents about the existing barriers they believe prevent them from accessing resources provided by the city’s municipal government. town.
The 15-member group was named by City Council Speaker Jesse Lederman in early October. Thursday’s meeting will be the first time the group will listen to residents.
The group also intends to provide recommendations for solutions to other existing problems in the city.
“I wish I had this opportunity when I was just a resident,” said Lavar Click-Bruce, chair of the Civic Engagement Task Force. “I think this is a great opportunity for the people of Springfield because we need to hear from them.”
Click-Bruce represents Ward 5 on the City Council.
Click-Bruce said the task force was especially interested in hearing from the city’s youth and older adults.
“We talked to the young people in our city and made sure they are aware of the civic engagement process, making sure they know what the city council, mayor and state officials are doing. “Click-Bruce said. “That’s something we’re going to focus more on on Thursday.”
He added: “We also want to get feedback from our community, to see what they think as well, so we can start compiling information and policy recommendations that we can present to City Council.”
Mable Lene Sharif, a member of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council who is also on the task force, wants to make sure the voices of older adults are heard.
“I am a senior myself and often we are treated like we are invisible until it is time to vote because we have a good reputation in voting,” Sharif said. “I want to make sure we are included in any civic engagement.”
Providing better access to freshly grown fruits and vegetables is a topic Working Group member Areliz Barbosa plans to discuss at the meeting.
“I know we have bodegas in certain areas of the city, but we really need to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for our residents,” Barbosa said. “In the farmers’ markets where these fresh foods are placed, they are not always available to all of our population.”
She added: “The public needs to know what civic engagement is, which works to make a difference in our civic lives, our communities and to develop a combination of knowledge, skills and values for our community.”
The virtual roundtable will take place on Zoom, starting at 7:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.
Residents interested in attending in advance may Register online.