Perceptions of marginalized communities often form from single media sources. All you see on the news is the violence, drugs, and poverty. But, there are many positive stories that exist in these communities. Stories that need to be heard.
The Neighborhood Postcard Project fosters community connection through the exchange of these personal stories. Residents fill out a postcard with a positive personal story of their community. That postcard is then mailed to a random person in that city to create a stronger connection between people and communities.
The Neighborhood Postcard Project is a worldwide initiative sprouted from the SF Postcard Project in San Francisco, CA.
I began the project in April of 2013. When I was working with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, I worked with youth in Bayview to create a challenge for ImproveSF, an online platform where San Franciscans submit ideas to solve neighborhood challenges. The youth went out and talked to the community and asked them what they wanted to improve in their neighborhood. They heard about gang violence, unemployment, and drug use — but they finally came back to us and said that all they wanted to do was change other people’s perception of Bayview. I found that extremely powerful. They had this huge platform in the Mayor’s Office to try to end violence in their neighborhood, but they said no all we want is for people to not look at us and not assume certain things because we live in a certain neighborhood. So I set out to find a way to help them and change perception of San Francisco’s marginalized neighborhoods. I knew that perception is hard to change, so I created a light touch way to change people’s perceptions in the form of a surprise piece of mail with a positive personal story of a neighborhood people may have only seen or heard one side of.
// A project by Hunter Franks //