You all have known me for 10 years. I’m Emerge, a spunky grassroots community organization dedicated to bringing progressive folks together in Miami. I love bikes, potlucks, board games and parades. You can catch me hanging out at Colony 1, Sweat Records, The Magic City Bike Collective, LAB Miami, on the metrorail, and at the library. Most importantly, I care for others. I’m there when my friends need help, if another awesome group needs elbow-grease, collaboration or promotion, I’m on it.
I’m an informal cat. I collect donations in a coffee can and I have no rigid structure, rules, or hierarchy.
In the past 10 years, I’ve built a community of active, energetic Miamians who want to take responsibility for the direction of their hometown. We show up to commission meetings, we write to our leaders and we learn enthusiastically about the issues affecting our community. Our friendships inspire us to get up early on the weekends to celebrate and support each other.
Just about two months ago, my younger cousin, Engage, came on the scene. She’s only two months old, but boy is she precocious. We share all the same values: localism, environmental stewardship, equality and accessibility. The difference? Engage organizes herself formally. She’s a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4), has full-time staffers, a board of directors and an organizational structure. She wants to take over this town by shaking up the way decisions are made here. Engage channels her passions and talent into developing leaders and increasing participation in the local decision process.
Engage was always the kid who sat in front in class with both hands raised. I usually sat in the back plotting my brilliant dreams in my notebook. We remain inspired by each other’s abilities and contributions to the common cause: building a Miami that represents our values.
Engage is so type-A, she even made a handy chart to help you better understand our differences:
|Structure||loosely organized community group||501(c)(3), 501(c)(4)|
|Leadership||no formal leaders||a board of directors|
|Decision process||consensus, opt-in||voting, democracy o/s|
|Advantages||Emerge has no reporting requirements, bylaws or legal constraints. Freedom!||Engage is able to register voters and secure tax-deductible donations. Power!|
|Resources||An all volunteer team||Paid staffers, volunteers|
As loving relatives, we will work together and separately to make Miami a city worthy of its inhabitants. We’ll support each other eternally…after all, it will take a family effort to rebuild this city on a solid foundation of love.