To the editor:

I can attest to the impact of Working Cities Pittsfield on the community ("Pursuing a city that works for everyone," Eagle, April 30). I got involved in the initiative at the start because the partners are dedicated to doing things differently. While Working Cities does not pay participants to attend its monthly networking meetings, they do break down many obstacles to being there: food, child care, transportation, and they even offer Spanish translation services to those who need it. Sometimes I am that translator, assisting a new member of the community in understanding this work and helping them feel included and able to contribute. And they make me feel valued for doing it.

We need more spaces where people in power listen to those who are struggling. We can only get there together. Pittsfield should see this work as a model for community engagement and seek to partner with residents in this way for solving our shared problems.

Working Cities has been a crucial platform for many of our current initiatives, including the annual Harvest of Hope Multicultural Arts Festival which will happen again this September, the Unidos con Puerto Rico project to support hurricane victims in Puerto Rico as well as emigres, and the Hopeseed Empowerment Cooperative which seeks to build an incubator for multi-class, multicultured leadership and provide a cooperative model for community building and business formation.

Manos Unidas Multicultural Educational Cooperative is dedicated to uplifting the voice of the unheard, and in partnership with Working Cities, we are developing the multicultural leaders of tomorrow!

Anaelisa Jacobsen,


The writer is co-founder and director emerita of Manos Unidas Multicultural Educational Cooperative