Some reflections from Town Team Movement Co-Founder – Jimmy Murphy
I’ve been reflecting on a massive month for Town Team Movement, with the 65th Town Team joining the movement and our work in regional Western Australia gathering momentum (I’m out in Northam for ‘Northam on the Up’s’ first major community meeting!! 🙌).
What started me off on this journey?
I still come back to the moment when I read Martin Luther Kings famous quote for the first time, on my friend Karen Lee’s fridge, almost 10 years ago –
Reading that quote was the moment that changed everything for me. I went from a ‘protest activist’ to a ‘contributing activist’ in my mindset. I went from blaming everyone else, to accepting my civic responsibility and the power to make a difference. It was a seismic shift in my mindset that felt like an atomic brain explosion at the time, a chain reaction that lasted for years and it led to all sorts of ramifications and life changes, including giant street festival productions, getting voted onto Council and eventually, the creation of Town Team Movement.
I found what ‘lights me up’ – the most rewarding work of civic contribution through placemaking. Now, my work is spreading the joy of this work to others who share our passion.
Last night at our Town Team Social, we had teams from Gosnells and Joondalup and Armadale and Midland and everything in between. People sharing stories of how they had impacted their own communities – from building their own public spaces to events with thousands of people, new community centres, markets, community gardens, knowing neighbours, helping groups, running for council and improvements to local communities and greater society.
Some of this would have happened without Town Team Movement, but alot would not have, and knowing that brings me tears of joy. Town Team Movement has been the hardest, the most bold, the most uncertain, the most impactful and the most rewarding thing that I have ever been apart of.
We’re almost 5 years in, and it feels like we’re only just getting started.
It’s easy to get caught up blaming big business or big government for the failures of society and the world. But, I believe in order to defeat the big challenges of our time – lack of climate action, inequality, suicide, mental health, discrimination etc, we need a healthier democracy.
I haven’t yet found a better system. So, I decided to give it my all and work to restore the confidence and trust of communities by helping them to empower themselves to build a stronger civil society. Not get caught up in who has what or who controls what, or who said what, but focus on what we can do to make it better.
I believe we need to work at democracy together. That democracy is far more than a vote at a ballot box. Its the very fabric and connections and conversations and actions of our communities that makes up our society. We are the sum of all our parts and we influence each other and those parts every day.