PARK SLOPE — Donald Trump's victory left many in Democrat-leaning Park Slope in a daze, then sparked a fierce desire to take action.
"I can draw some parallels between what’s going on now and what happened after 9/11," said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman. "There was this real hunger for people to reach out and commune and pull together. I guess for reassurance, and to find therapeutic ways for working and giving back within the community."
Hammerman's office has received many calls in the wake of the election from locals who want guidance on how to get involved in their neighborhood.
"Because they're disappointed with the outcome, or perhaps even angry, they seem to be igniting some fire in their belly or acknowledging that it’s there, and wanting to know how they can plug in an pursue their passions," Hammerman said.
Taking a cue from the adage "All politics is local," here's a beginner's guide to getting involved in Park Slope.
Not all of the suggestions below relate directly to Trump's stated policy goals or the federal government, but they are all ways to connect with others.
► Join local resistance efforts taking aim at Trump policies. City Councilman Brad Lander is leading #GetOrganizedBK, which attracted more than 1,000 people to its first meeting on Nov. 15. The next meet-up is on Dec. 1 and will work on tasks such as building a local Muslim-Jewish alliance and getting Trump adviser Steve Bannon removed from office.
There's also a group forming around the Park Slope music venue Barbes. Their next "What now?" meeting is on Dec. 4.
► Connect with a Park Slope neighborhood group, or just get on their email list. Here are a few to try: Park Slope Civic Council (Twitter, Facebook) Park Slope Neighbors (Twitter, Facebook). For seniors, there's Good Neighbors of Park Slope and for parents there is of course the famed Park Slope Parents.
► Attend a Community Board 6 meeting. Community boards have limited power, but they weigh in on a number of neighborhood issues, from which bars get liquor licenses to which developers get support for new housing. Going to meetings or even joining a committee is a great way to hear about what's happening in the neighborhood, and representatives from elected officials at all levels of government often attend and give updates on their work.
Community Board 6 includes Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Red Hook and the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The full board meets monthly (here's the calendar) and smaller committees meet regularly on topics such as parks and transportation. Can't go to the meetings? Follow Community Board 6 on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for email alerts.
► Join or start a block association. "Let's not forget the most basic building block of the community, which is the street that you live on," Hammerman said. Don't know if your block has one? Try calling Community Board 6, which once maintained a list of many, but not all, of neighborhood block groups. Block associations can form just to organize a block party, or to advocate on an issue affecting the street. Here's a tip sheet on how to start one.
► Worried about your low-income neighbors? Join forces with seasoned activists. Longtime social justice group Fifth Avenue Committee serves about 5,500 low- and moderate-income people a year in South Brooklyn, working on issues including affordable housing, job placement and adult education and literacy. Find out how to become a volunteer activist here.
► Worried about the environment? The Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted waterways in the United States, is right in Park Slope's backyard. Get involved with efforts to restore it by working with the nonprofit Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Find out the latest on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund cleanup of the canal by attending meetings of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, which are open to the public.
► Worried the divide between the police and the community? Meet the officers who patrol Park Slope at the 78th Precinct Community Council, which meets at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct (65 Sixth Ave.) The precinct's commanding officer typically gives an update on local crime trends at the meeting, and the public can ask any questions they want of police.
► Just want to volunteer or donate money to a neighborhood organization? Many nonprofits need volunteers and cash; here are just a few to get you started: CHiPS (a soup kitchen and shelter for moms with babies), Brooklyn Public Library, and New York Methodist Hospital.