On Monday, March 18, 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the McDonough City Council Meeting at McDonough City Hall in McDonough, Georgia. While there, I was able to learn about the issues that needed to be addressed within the county that I live in, such as approval for construction of a new government edifice, approval for equipment that is efficient in treating the water we drink, affordable living quarters for seniors, millennials, and families, and beautification programs and projects that benefit Henry County and its surrounding counties. While at the event, I was able to connect with a community event organizer, and two councilmembers who were in attendance at this city council meeting.
The community event organizer who I was able to interview at the city council meeting has worked with several non-profits and community organizations over the past 30 years. She believes that it’s important to attend city council meetings, as it helps inform others about what is going on within their community and makes them aware of developmental changes that they have the right to know about. She told me the reason why she goes to every city council meeting whenever she has the chance to, is because she believes that in order to change your community, you have to know about your community. There is no way we can expect to effectively change our communities, if we don’t know what is going on within our communities. She also stated that active concern for the community will foster us to be actively involved within our communities, seeking change for the better.
The point of the city council meeting was to inform or keep the citizens of Henry County abreast of what is going on in their town. The agenda consisted of appointing a new Commissioner of the City of McDonough Urban Redevelopment Agency, approving the adoption of the Draft Capital Improvements Element, approval of construction for new police headquarters, approval of the installation of equipment for the town’s water treatment plant, and amending the city’s code of ordinances. Within this agenda, each motion and request for approval was made on the grounds for help in benefiting the citizens of Henry County.
Personally for me, attending this city council meeting in McDonough helped me to be more aware of what is going on in my community. Upon arriving there, I was greeted by several of the council members, some who moved from their seated positions and greeted myself and other citizens who were in attendance. It’s a pleasure to know that those who have been elected to serve in these powerful capacities have such a concern and genuine care to get to know their neighboring citizens in Henry County. When local politicians such as these council members interact with their community, they become more empathetic and will listen to the concerns of the people, and work within their ability and power to meet the needs of the community rather than the needs of the elite.
What makes the government better is when leaders in position genuinely care about the citizens within their towns, cities, states and countries, and what they desire to see transpire in their government. So many countries around the world are being run by dictators who take away God-given rights and freedoms that every human being has been born with. If leaders in their respective countries would come together and work for the greater good of their citizens, it would spark the citizens to be actively involved within their government. When their issues and concerns are taken at face value and taken seriously, it shows them that they have a voice in their government. Once they realize that their voice is heard, and that their voice can bring forth change, it will renew the pride that they have in their government.
One of the programs in McDonough that have been initiated shed light on this fact. The executive assistant and grant writer of the “McDonough Beautiful” project both came together to form the vision that they had in mind to transform their community. These two women expressed how they were able to start this initiative because of the fact that they let their voices be heard about the awareness of beautification. Because their concerns for the environment were heard, they now are planning community events that help encourage community engagement in keeping the McDonough community beautiful and clean. Not only are they working in Henry County, but they are building partnerships with other counties and cities to help spread awareness about beautification. What started off with concern led to a movement that transcended into a program that benefits the community and everyone surrounding it.
*Photo by Reeves Young, “McDonough City Hall”,