Photo via FEMA

Protests and rallies are effective ways to voice an opinion about government policies and leadership, and the Trump administration has certainly given New Yorkers many reasons to take to the streets on a weekly basis. (Check out Brokelyn’s latest roundup of anti-Trump activism.) Reading national news headlines, with so much bleakness going on in the world, can make you feel too small to help. Indeed, affecting change on a national scale is no easy feat, so often it’s better to think globally while acting locally. Namely, to commit to focusing on issues affecting the street you live on by, for a start, attending your local Community Board‘s meetings.

There are 18 boards in this borough, and most of them meet once a month. At these meetings, you can meet and chat with some of the most passionate, outspoken residents in Brooklyn — people who really love this city and want what is best for it. Issues concerning parking, liquor licences, developments, homeless shelters, and public transit are among the most popular topics at CB meetings. However, don’t expect a motion carried by a board to result in some ground-breaking change in your neighborhood. The boards are made up of mostly volunteers, and the results of the meetings are passed down to a higher body of local government. You’ll learn the true meaning of patience at a CB meeting, which are known to devolve into hours-long tangents on local politics. Some CBs hold far shorter meetings than others (we’re talking 30 minutes in contrast to three hours).

Sure, these meetings are often tedious — especially when someone is giving a really long presentation about something as hyper specific as a single dysfunctional hydrant cap — but they are important. Community meetings are a great way to develop a deeper understanding of your neighborhood. While talking with neighbors you didn’t interact with previously, you may learn about a person opening up a new shop—or about someone on your block who is facing eviction. You’ll hear neighborhood gossip and you may even make some new friends. You will finally understand the true meaning of cantankerous.

For anyone trying to stay active, there are so many fulfilling choices right now. Writing letters to Congress and protesting in a rally offer, for many, immediate satisfaction and a feeling of empowerment. Sitting in a meeting for the entirety of your weekday evening doesn’t offer the same draw. But real change often starts on the lowest, most local level, and CBs are that. Find out which one you belong to below.

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brooklyn-community-board-meetings-september-2015

Community board 1: Greenpoint, Williamsburg
Meeting time: 6pm on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Check the calendar for specific meeting dates.
Place: Swinging 60’s Senior Center, 211 Ainslie St.

Community board 2: Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn
Meeting time: 6pm on Wednesdays. Check the calendar for specific meeting dates
Place: Brown Memorial Fellowship Hall, 52 Gates Ave.

Community board 3: Bed-Stuy, Stuyvesant Heights, Ocean Hill
Meeting time: 7pm on the first Monday of the month. Check the calendar for specific meeting dates
Place: Restoration Plaza Main Building Basement Level, 1368 Fulton St.

Community board 4: Bushwick
Meeting time: 6pm, usually every third Wednesday of the month. Check the calendar for specific meeting dates
Place: Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center, 195 Linden St.

Community board 5: East New York, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, New Lots, City Line, Starrett City, Ridgewood
Meeting time: 6:30pm. Usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community board 6: Red Hook, Carroll Gardens
Meeting time: 6:30pm on the second Wednesday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community board 7: Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace
Meeting time: 6:30pm on the third Wednesday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community board 8: Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Weeksville
Meeting time: 7pm on the first Thursday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community board 9: South Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts
Meeting time: 7pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month
Place: Middle School 61, 400 Empire Boulevard

Community board 10: Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton
Meeting time: 7:15pm on the third Monday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community board 11: Bath Beach, Gravesend, Mapleton, Bensonhurst
Meeting time: 7:30pm on the second Thursday of the month
Place: Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare
1740 84th St.

Community Board 12: Boro Park, Kensington, Ocean Parkway, Midwood
Meeting time: 7pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month
Place: Varies, contact the board for details

Community Board 13: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Seagate
Meeting time: 7pm on the fourth Wednesday of the month
Place: NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, Second floor. 2601 Ocean Pkwy

Community Board 14: Flatbush, Midwood, Kensington, Ocean Parkway
Meeting time: 7:30pm on the second Monday of the month
Place: Location varies, check the calendar

Community Board 15: Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Kings Bay, Gerritsen Beach, Kings Highway, East Gravesend, Madison, Homecrest, Plum Beach
Meeting time: 7pm on the last Tuesday of the month
Place: Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard

Community Board 16: Brownsville, Ocean Hill
Meeting time: 7pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month
Place: 444 Thomas S Boyland St.

Community Board 17: East Flatbush, Remsen Village, Farragut, Rugby, Erasmus, Ditmas Village
Meeting time: 7pm on the third Wednesday of the month
Place: Location varies, contact the board

Community Board 18: Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown, Mill Island
Meeting time: 8pm on the third Wednesday of the month
Place: Location varies, contact the board

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Photo via Brooklyn Community Board 6
Photo via Brooklyn Community Board 6

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