YOUR DATE WITH DEMOCRACY – Participatory Budgeting in Chicago


YOUR DATE WITH DEMOCRACY is finally a good news story about money and politics! In Chicago – a city better known for corruption and machine politics – Alderman Joe Moore presented community members with a novel "participatory budgeting" process, that would allow them to decide directly how to spend $1 million in infrastructure “menu” money. The community reacted with unabashed enthusiasm and volunteers developed dozens of infrastructure project proposals that were put to a popular vote. Abel Leon, who passionately advocates for a dog park, is among the many volunteers who are working together to improve their neighborhood. Fast forward three years: we visit with Abel again and find out what happened to the dog park after the popular vote.

Directed, produced, shot and edited by independent filmmaker Ines Sommer, YOUR DATE WITH DEMOCRACY is part of her larger work-in-progress about regular people taking part in the democratic process through participatory budgeting. Used in cities internationally, Chicago’s 49th Ward was the first jurisdiction in the US to embrace this grassroots democratic process.

YOUR DATE WITH DEMOCRACY is an independent video project, not sponsored by the Participatory Budgeting Project.

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