Sometimes it seems that society is becoming increasingly polarized, resulting in divisions between people and tensions arising. While we argue about politics, values, lifestyle and the pandemic, the communication between people has seemingly become more concentrated on our differences and conflicts, rather than on collaboration and support. Turbulent pandemic years have reduced face-to-face human communication to the bare minimum. While created to bring people together, the use of social media and other online communication platforms during recent years have only exacerbated tensions between people; with the advent of faltering etiquette, fake news and selective algorithms, coupled with the social isolation and anxieties the pandemic brought to millions around the world.
However, if we dig a little deeper, we can find many people creating connections with others rather than creating divides; those who seek to build bridges rather than tear them down; those citizens who are changing the very stereotypes so rooted into society through use of peaceful communication and common efforts. Looking at their examples we can easily conclude that there is still enough space for dialogue, human connection and understanding.
Taking an active role in your community and engaged citizenship is a key quality of a European society. The European Union has been working with individual citizens to help them improve their circumstances and create closer connections with their neighbors and other people in their communities. When people are engaged and participate in the decision-making process, this creates social capital. When acting for public good, people encourage others to get involved and cooperate with their fellow citizens for common goals and a better future.
Engaged citizens can be found in every community, whether it be a big city or a remote village. By their actions and initiatives, they carve out more opportunities for those less fortunate and bring hope to people’s lives.
Follow the story of the young lawyers Deah and Ramin, whose initiatives have instigated increased protection of rights for citizens with disabilities. Find out more about the young model – Anna, who established a trade union in the fashion industry to promote awareness of employment rights and the law. And from the community activist Sofo supporting older people with digital engagement during the pandemic; the young activist Samaia from Marneuli, fighting against early marriage; to the community leaders Diana, Agasin and Vladimir from Samtskhe-Javakheti who are bringing their voice and initiatives to local self-governance by elaborating structural package of local youth initiatives.
These inspiring stories show what it means to be an active citizen, and how each and every one of us can improve the environment we all live in. These are stories of strength and resilience, of people taking the initiative to provide support to those in need. These are stories of hope and positivity, of active citizens who create better future for the communities they live in.
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