Can you succeed at activism three minutes at a time in front of city council?
Yes, but not without doing your research. Not without choosing your words to deliver an impactful message. Not without help from your community. This is the lesson I learned at the last Lynnwood City Council meeting on April 22, 2019.
I have been told repeatedly, “You can’t fight City Hall. You can’t fight big business or the government.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you believe that what you want or do not want in your neighborhood is important, stand up and say so. Talk to your neighbors about how they feel. If you don’t know your neighbors, knock on their door, introduce yourself and explain what you are doing.
To be honest, we did have almost a year to learn and go through this process. To research the issues and consequences of a vote, either negative or positive, and to talk to our neighbors. It may not be easy. You need to have someone or some people that can work on it and will continue to work on it and to stay engaged until the final vote.
For us to be successful, it took all of that and maybe even more. But we were able to have our voices heard. Our neighborhood’s voices were heard through a simple petition. By going door to door and talking to our neighbors, we developed the necessary message for the council to hear.
Although many of us talked at the city council meetings (each member of the public was allowed three minutes to address the council both for and against the Whispering Pines re-zone). I think it may have been that three minutes at the podium that they heard the loudest. It was in that three minutes that I presented the petition with 106 signatures. It was during that three minutes that summarized and clarified what our neighborhood wanted.
The city council not only listened; they heard our voices. Although it was a diﬃcult decision, they voted as the majority of voices stated they wanted, for reasons that made sense.
I want to thank the Lynnwood City Council for hearing us and encourage others to take three minutes to read the council’s meeting agendas. You may find an issue that speaks to you. One that needs your support or that needs to not be enacted. I want you to know that three minutes can be impactful, not only for yourself but on behalf of your neighborhood or city.