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Upcoming Clarion Call Sessions a collaborative effort to hear and lift the voice of community

Featured photo: Patrick McNeal, director of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council

Photo provided by Patrick McNeal

By Tanya Terry

The North Flint Neighborhood Action Council and Community Roots (NAC) will work in partnership with the City of Flint, Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the United Way of Genesee County to offer four City Wide Clarion Call Sessions. The purpose of the Clarion Call Sessions is to give residents of Flint and Genesee County an opportunity to make priority recommendations for issues that must be addressed to improve quality of life and eliminate disparities for marginalized residents of the community.

The Courier talked to Patrick McNeal, director of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council, about what residents can expect during the sessions. McNeal is also lead facilitator of Community Roots.

“The Clarion Call really means a loud, clear call for some type of action,” McNeal stated. “So, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint had these COVID-19 Task Forces on disparities. These task forces were doing yeoman’s work. However, COVID-19 hit. So, they wanted to recenter their work, and they wanted to figure out the best way of doing it.”

Another community organization, Carter & Kim Consulting, was being tasked to lay out, based on five years’ worth of data, what people were saying they wanted and what the issues of community were.

“With those being in the background, we then took the top 12, whittled them down to eight, and that’s what we take to community to have a conversation about what’s most important and most salient to them,” said McNeal.

McNeal explained everything being done through the Clarion Calls Sessions was based on the fact the Genesee County Board of Health declared racism a public health crisis.

“So, everything we do is couched in that resolution that was signed in 2020, with everything that was happening then-COVID, George Floyd, the closing of schools,” McNeal added.

McNeal did not wish to tell what the eight topics to be discussed at the sessions would be specifically.

According to McNeal, there will actually at least about 20 of the Clarion Call listening sessions around the community. The organizations he is with partnered with the city on four of them. Those sessions are being held at Brennan Senior Center, Hasselbring Senior Center and The Dome auditorium behind Flint City Hall.

“These are the ones that we actually partnered with the city with and thought it would be great to lift these up to show that we’re working in collaboration with the City and others.”

Recommendations from the sessions will be presented to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint Task Force 2.0 for oversight and implementation.

The first 25 participants at each session will also receive a free t-shirt as a token of appreciation.

McNeal said the present time is an important time to have the listening sessions and to hear from all age groups.

“The disparities haven’t went away. As much as we can say that things are well, they are not. There’s some real issues that are going on in community, and they really need to be addressed. The best way to do it is to center community in these conversations-because when you center community, then you have community voice, which could lead to community buy-in, which could lead to community participating at every level of the change that needs to take place. They are the ones who are most impacted by it. So, they should have a seat at the table, and this is one way of ensuring that resident voice is leading the conversation as we go back to these groups and say: ‘This is what community is saying. Hear them.”’

The four City Wide Clarion Call Sessions are listed below.

Date: Tuesday, September 19

Time: 11:00 AM–12:30 PM

Location: Brennan Senior Center, 1301 Pingree Ave., Flint

Date: Tuesday, September 19

Time: 2:00–3:30 PM

Location: Hasselbring Senior Center, 1002 W Home Ave., Flint

Date: Thursday, September 28

Time: 10:00–11:30 AM

Location: The Dome auditorium behind Flint City Hall, 1101 S. Saginaw St., Flint

Date: Thursday, September 28

Time: 5:30–7:00 PM

Location: The Dome auditorium behind Flint City Hall, 1101 S. Saginaw St., Flint

For more information on the Clarion Call Sessions, contact Geraldine Clark of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council at (810) 219-9515 or by email at



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