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Let's Engage

Community fair aims to convert anxiety into action

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This Sunday, Jan. 29, the Community Engagement Fair will shine a light on how citizens can be the driver of a regenerative, participatory democracy.

The free event at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds follows October's Another World Is Possible event. That was an evening of music, dance, art and the spoken word, and included rappers, rockers and folkies, Native American dancers and a long roll of paper taped to the back wall of the Arlene Francis Center. This timeline, drawn by event attendees, imagined bright benchmarks to the year 2100 for multicultural and gender equality, environmental restoration, agricultural sustainability and universal healthcare and housing.

But that vision seems obscured by recent events. After a contentious election and its unexpected results, the country is under a pall of uncertainty and more divided than ever. Many are anxious, many depressed, and many feel an urgency to do something, but are plagued by feelings of inadequacy to the task. We need to climb out of this emotional quicksand. We need to believe that another, better world remains possible. And we need to roll up our sleeves to make it happen.

The Community Engagement Fair, hosted by the Another World Is Possible Coalition, is a volunteer "jobs fair" featuring more than 90 North Bay organizations and community groups. Fairgoers can speak with a broad spectrum of groups such as Daily Acts, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Petaluma Progressives and many more, and apply for the right spot.

We are especially interested in folks who may never have volunteered before. Your questions will be answered, your angst calmed, and, just maybe, your first steps toward rewarding community engagement will begin.

The Community Engagement Fair runs from noon to 5pm in Garrett Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. To learn more or to contribute to the fair, visit communityengagementfair.com

See you at the fair!

Tom Roth represents the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club and is a member of the Another World Is Possible Coalition, which also includes the Farmers Guild, Sonoma County Conservation Action, the North Bay Organizing Project, the Alliance for Regenerative Communities and the Universal Unitarian Church, Santa Rosa Congregation.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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