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/All photos by Denise Cheng
Rose Teague interviews Reyna García about her favorite hangouts in the Southtown area.
Although LINC just moved to its new building in Madison Square (1167 Madison SE), its spacious community training room has been put to task, hosting dozens of trainings in the last two months. On a sunny Monday evening, LINC staffers Kari Galbreath and Javonte Tubbs held the first Rapidian bureau training to share how The Rapidian can be part of residents' toolkit to share critical information about their neighborhoods.
"It allows our residents and people in our community to give their own story and share their own information about what's going on in their community, what's going on in the neighborhood," Javonte explained.
A few of the 12 residents already had topics in mind.
"Something that I would like to get more in detail with… I stay in Park Place. There has been a young man out there molesting little girls so we have a lot of police on patrol now, so I would like to write about that and see how we can get more intent," said Patricia Peacod. "I get the chills talking about it because I have five kids and I lost all my kids. I have really strong feelings about that."
Resident Jeri Wade shared about a community organizer coordinating biweekly music performances on the corner of Madison and Cherry as an alternative to gang activity.
"Cultural, ethnic misunderstandings that we all see but don't really talk about," added Molly Bouwsma. "Like things I don't have the answers for, but I know if it's bugging me, it's bugging someone else."
After touring The Rapidian, participants broke up into five groups to interview one another on video, asking where their favorite hang outs are in Southtown. The interviews are being compiled into an interactive piece to accompany an upcoming article on the Madison Park charrette.
"I'm invested in my community," shared George Ward about why he attended the training. "I think a lot of people nowadays, when they talk about community, they don't really have a true sense or understanding of community. Community means what happens to me is what happens to you. A lot of times … people are more concerned with treating the symptoms rather than treating the core issue."
"I'm hoping that this will … stir a kind of hunger to get out and start doing this on their own and really just take it and own it," Kari said. "Nothing's too small when it's hyperlocal and neighborhood news."
The Rapidian is a citizen journalism project designed to increase the flow of local news and information in the Grand Rapids community and its neighborhoods. We work to empower neighborhood residents to report the news from the inside out. The Rapidian provides tools, training, platforms and support to become more than just content consumers but content providers as well.