With the void left by Take Back Antioch who recently shut itself down, residents in Antioch now have an opportunity to start a new grassroots movement to help reduce crime, cleanup the city and build up community pride.
Over the last several days, I have received dozens of emails and messages asking about what happened to Take Back Antioch as both its website and Facebook Page were shut down. This comes months after founder Brittney Gougeon was named Antioch’s Citizen of the Year.
I was told by a person of authority that Ms. Gougeon has moved out of Antioch and is now living in Brentwood so she shut it down.
Some on social media have questioned Ms. Gougeon actions by asking whether or not she fooled everyone, if her organization was a ruse, or did she do it for notoriety and self-promotion? They are also asking about what happened to donated funds for the non-profit.
All fair questions, but the discussion is not a productive usage of time. Instead, folks should be looking forward at the future instead of the bad taste left in one’s mouth.
Sure, it may be easy to criticize her decision to shut down the group as opposed to handing it over to another, but this actually may be a blessing to start fresh and clearly define a message around an organizations goal—not a single person.
For starters, the fresh start is a blessing because the original page turned political towards the end and supported a single councilmember versus the city—those posts and discussions are now gone. There was little updating in the final months and little support for Measure C—a new group can have lots of updates and define the types of content it provides. Most importantly, users who were banned/blocked for voicing opposing views now have a clean slate.
What will be missed is the history and base of around 5,000 supporters looking to make a difference in the city. With good leadership, a clearly defined message, and some common sense in content posted, that can be built back up.
The movement of “taking back Antioch” should not end because Ms. Gougeon moved on; this is an opportunity for someone else to step up and continue the goal of improving Antioch. You do not need a fancy title or figurehead to initiate change. Instead, you need time, effort, and a good message.
Antioch has so much potential with people working together. The city is full of good people with big hearts that care about their community. Now is the time for them to step up and improve on the Take Back Antioch model to create a forever lasting positive change within the city.
Here are some other Antioch groups you may want to consider joining on Social Media.
- Cleaning up Antioch – One Home At a Time
- Take Back Antioch –we will call this 2.0
- The Real Take Back Antioch
By Michael Burkholder
Photo by Beverly Knight from the 2013 Antioch Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Gala in March 2013.