There was a time when you knew to be home before the streetlights came on, especially if you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew your name. Some things have changed, yet technology has enabled us to become even more connected than ever.

September was Neighborhood Month, and with the theme of “Together for Better Neighborhoods,” Nextdoor, partnered with Atlanta’s own 11Alive for a conversation that brought community leaders together to discuss ways to rally around neighborhood businesses, elevating one another and more. 

The event highlighted topics ranging from how COVID has impacted society at large to understanding how to partner with police officers and enact community-led initiatives. The panelists touched on engaging in the political process, why economic and political power go hand in hand, and more.

  • Tamika Mallory, activist and Co-Founder of Until Freedom
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.
  • Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.

What role do neighborhoods play in building better bridges between community and civil service organizations?

Tamika Mallory, Co-Founder of Until Freedom

The question really has to be, what are our organizations, elected officials, civil service outlets going to do to be closer to the community? How can we create light, rather than darkness in communities where people feel that they want to be part of the process.

I try to tell people when I’m organizing all the time, that we can protest and show up at the local city council meetings. The local police accountability meetings. We can still run for the local seats, whether it be the school board, district leader in our communities and protest when we see issues where we feel that our people have been treated unjustly. 

Know thy neighbor — how can neighborhoods thrive when bridges are built instead of walls?

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.

Nextdoor is the one place where you get to talk to the Republican next to you, the Democrat next to you. The white person next to you, the liberal down the street, the police officer. In other words, everyone is siloed these days, if all you want to get is a certain kind of news, then social media or whoever is happy to feed it to you. So now you’re getting an echo chamber of what you already believe. So now you’re angrier, you’re more frustrated, you’re more removed from your neighbor as it relates to a resolution. But through this network, you have through the very nature of community, a way to have a real conversation. 

What are the biggest challenges that you envision in a post-COVID Atlanta?

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Currently across the United States, 66 percent of Americans are now working remotely. In terms of the economic shift that COVID has caused, we were already seeing a trend towards online sales, but currently because of COVID-19 we’re finding that more and more people are purchasing online and we’re rethinking brick and mortar and how we move forward – as not only consumers – but as communities. So many business models will be restructured as we move forward.

Recently, I held a town hall and we had over 700 people that participated, both Zoom as well as streaming, and we looked at how to start an online business. How to source products globally, because as the marketplace shifts, if we are going to remain competitive it is time that we rethink traditional models as well as service delivery. Because we will never be the same. 

5 Ways to Help Grow and Strengthen Your Own Community

  • Building stronger communities requires people to be educated on elected positions in their communities or even running themselves.
  • When given opportunities and access to the political process, Black America has excelled.
  • Wealth creation, home ownership and more are all important for economic empowerment.
  • Jobs and affordable housing create safer, and more engaged communities.
  • Local communities can be the catalyst for change on a larger scale.

Known as a place where you can “get the most out of your neighborhood,” more and more people are turning to Nextdoor to learn about their communities, get recommendations, and support local businesses. Download the Nextdoor app and tap into your neighborhood today. 

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.