One-on-one exploratory conversations were conducted with 19 community leaders across the City of Houston/Harris County. These individuals were selected from Houston In Action member organizations, local civic club and super-neighborhood leaders, as well as leaders of local community-based organizations. Each community leader was sent an email requesting to schedule a conversation and explaining the purpose of the conversation. Respondents then replied to the email if they were interested, and conversations were subsequently scheduled.
The exploratory conversations were conducted from June 2018 to September 2018, and both telephone and in-person approaches were utilized to engage with respondents representing a diverse cross-section of community leaders actively involved with civic engagement efforts. Conversations examined leaders’ perceptions of civic life, such as voting activity, community engagement, and Hurricane Harvey-related concerns, as well as barriers they perceived in these areas.
1. Did most of the members of the community/constituency you work with vote in the recent presidential or local elections? (n=15)
Why or why not?
Common themes centered around a lack of awareness, education, and disenfranchisement.
2. Do you feel that the votes of members of your community/constituency are useful or helpful? (n=15)
Why or why not?
3. What makes it difficult to vote for members of your community/constituency? (n=15)
4. For community members that you feel have contacted an elected official or attended a government meeting (e.g., city, county, school board, state), what do you think led them to do so? For those who have not, do you have a sense of why they haven’t done any of the listed things (n=15)
5. What percentage of community members tried to persuade friends about an issue that was discussed during a campaign? If so, what led them to do so? (n=15)
For those who have not, do you have a sense of why they haven’t done any of the listed things?
6. What percentage of community members have tried to change local policies in a place like a school, workplace, or your neighborhood/community? (n=15)
If so, what led them to do so? For those who have not, do you have a sense of why they haven’t done any of the listed things?
7. What percentage of community members do you think worked with others or volunteered in the community to solve a problem in the last couple of years? (n=15)
If so, what led community members to do so?
8. Is community member involvement in your community or with organizations useful or helpful? (n=15)
Community Leader Responses:
10. Would you like to share any additional thoughts or comments about volunteering in your community? (n=15)