On accountability and change

Zaheen’s vision at last year’s public consultation

Zaheen’s vision at last year’s public consultation

As a child I was taught that we would all have to account for our actions on judgment day, which for us is called « Kayiamaat na diwaas », which literally means « explanation day ». I looked forward to it. I love courtroom dramas.

Accountability is not a matter of right or wrong, because who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong. It is about taking ownership and drawing a line between what one does for one’s sake and what one does for others and for anything that requires a sacrifice or compromise, recognition and respect.

For me, Brick by Brick is my project. For my colleague, it’s her project, for our architect, it’s her project, for our newest investor, it’s their project, for our agent at the credit union it’s her project, for the urban planner at the borough it’s his project, for our partners it’s their project, and for those who have signed up for an apartment, it’s their project.

Community is more in flux than ever before and perhaps those who feel like they can share Brick by Brick so openly appreciate the urgency to build autonomous infrastructure for social change that is founded not on a common vision but rather on trust, on mutual aid, mutual recognition, curiosity, and patience, and the willingness to give each other credit in the absence of understanding. We are accountable to each other, not only to a mission or vision that can easily be appropriated by those who have the means to do so.

So Brick by Brick is not for everyone. But that’s fine. And to be clear I don’t think that because the world is changing fast we should all give up on building a common vision and soliciting a broad mandate. It’s just that I see an opportunity for me to be useful now and it is a relief not to be missed by those who are doing so much good work and who are inspired by an ideal that truly commands accountability. Hey, ideas are people too!