Excerpt from 2016 HEP Policy Strategies Summary
Participants identified a need to make sure rural voices are part of decision making processes so community members from these areas can be their own champions. Participants recommended establishing more inclusive and equitable definitions of neighborhood. This is important to prevent a forced identity being put onto residents within the “invisible” boundaries we reside. What if instead we had definitions that unified communities that are strategically separated for purposes of political representation and resource allocation? We should seek for true representation and inclusion of communities. This can be accomplished by policy makers and funders using an equity lens to inform definitions, as well decisions. In urban areas, disaggregation and focus on equity by “neighborhood” is important. In rural and frontier areas, the term “neighborhood” is very uncommon because of the tremendous geographic spread of a “community”. Defining a boundary in ways that makes the most sense for the issue is important in developing strategies to address the issue, to use resources efficiently, and to address power dynamics. Susan Wilger, HEP network steering committee member and representative of the National Center of Frontier Communities has contributed to a policy position paper regarding the definition of frontier.
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