Bridgeport Generation Now would like to thank San Bernardino Generation Now for their insight and passion that inspired our movement. For more information about their program, check them out here.
Our Mission & Civic Engagement
Bridgeport Generation Now is a movement!
We are a nonpartisan, grassroots social action network that empowers and unites our communities by increasing civic engagement. We encourage residents and our youth to take an active role in strengthening Bridgeport. We are open to all residents of Bridgeport, and anyone can be a member if they get involved in the community and show that they care about the future of our city.
We focus on policy research, civic and political education, and community organizing. Our collective work lives at the intersection of community building, systems change, and self-determination. Our current organizing frames are democratic empowerment, good governance, justice, equity, and livability. Our vision is to collectively develop into local leaders who practice intersectionality, collective action, openness, ethics, and love.
We define Civic Engagement as…
…working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. We promote the quality of life in our communities, through both political and non-political processes.
We see ourselves as members of a larger social fabric and therefore consider social problems to be at least partly our own. We are willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when appropriate.
Excerpts from Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, published by Oryx Press, 2000.
Our Organizational Model & Theory of Change
How do people in Bridgeport move from a place of apathy, cynicism, and the upholding – or even strengthening – of oppressive systems? How can our work help to move us from a place of “it is what it is” into a place of courage, action, and claiming our power?
Our Core Values
Our values are our essential core beliefs. They remind us how we want to be, do, and carry our collective work forward. They are our moral compass.
Intersectionality: We include people of all races, ethnicities, gender identification, sexual orientation, classes, physical and mental abilities, ages, religions, and political affiliations in our work. We honor all that people are and bring with them. We commit to being aware, honest, and reflective of how our identities inform our individual and group collaborations and power dynamics. We commit to actively work for equity and against discrimination, disadvantage, and bias, both internally and externally.
Collective Action: We believe in the grassroots power of our organizing to move us closer to a shared vision for social change in Bridgeport. Our shared vision is inspired by democratic ideas and united in common ethics (see below). We want our action to foster sustainable leadership and meaningful relationships.
Openness: We believe in sharing resources, information, and ideas, openly and freely. We want to share transparently and democratically, with diverse communities and organizations. Our openness is rooted in humility, generosity, and collaboration and is directly connected to our ability to be creative and innovative.
Ethics: We understand that with a commitment to intersectionality, collective action, and openness, we are going to have a multitude of understanding, experiences, and perceptions. Ethics is the ability to think critically about moral values and beliefs and direct our actions in terms of such values and beliefs. Therefore, it is important that we have an ongoing, mindful practice of defining – and refining – our moral understandings of right and wrong, of helping versus harming.
Love: We believe that love is the foundation of our organizing, our vision, and our relationships. To quote Dr. King, it is a “strong, demanding love,” rooted in trust, respect, empathy, and acceptance. As Rami Nashashibi, founder of Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago says, “one of the biggest…misunderstandings is juxtaposing love against power… Our love needs to drive us to build power, to build the ability, the capacity to move an agenda that is predicated on a better vision of the world.”
Our principles represent our intentional “ways of being.” They are the foundation of how we act together, provide guidelines for our collective behavior, and illustrate the ways in which we approach positive change. OUR PRINCIPLES GUIDE US TO:
Be together, not the same: We build inclusive and safe community that sees and celebrates differences.
- We are self-aware and we participate
- We work on behalf of the whole city, not just ourselves or our organization
Foster creativity: We create opportunities for interactions with new, diverse ideas, which are key to innovation and change.
- We inform, educate, and empower each other
- We listen and learn from each other and the world around us
- We foster personal development and build a civic leadership pipeline
Maintain vision through relationships: We center close, personal relationships at the heart of our work.
- We are consistent and reliable
- We prioritize self-care, healing, and friendships
- We show up in person for each other and for the work
Allow for mistakes: We expect to make mistakes and see it as an opportunity to receive feedback, to learn, and to grow.
- We communicate honestly and openly
- We welcome constructive criticism and want to be held accountable
- We learn by doing
Choose curiosity over fear: We are driven by courage and remain curious and concerned about the world around us.
- We are united in a common vision and we fearlessly pursue it