The Zone Captains Program will empower emergent neighborhood leadership in our communities to band together and start speaking with a unified voice. Zone captains are engaged residents who are willing to talk to their neighbors and communicate needs from the bottom up, while advocating for top-down resources through empowered communication and information-sharing. Using proven success stories from other fire-affected communities, various recovery organizations are supporting the Zone Captains program to create community engagement during the recovery.
Please consider making a tax deductable donation to support the Zone Captains program. Every dollar helps create greater community engagement during the recovery!
Meeting regularly with their neighbors to share rebuilding questions, resources, and needs specific to their community
Reporting back to community leaders, electeds, and decision-makers with current needs, information, and requests
Maintaining a unifying and collaborative spirit that seeks to bring a wide variety of voices to the table
Be willing to problem solve and arrive at consensus amidst a diversity of views and solutions
Using basic computer skills, telephone trees, and other means of effective networking to meet your neighbors where they are at
Agreeing to uphold a Code of Conduct in your work as a Zone Captain
Be willing to undergo periodic trainings to integrate equitable and trauma-informed practices into their day-to-day work
Effective community organizing in the wake of a natural disaster inevitably happens on a block-by-block, house-by-house basis.
Past experience has shown that using Zone Captains can speed up recovery and reduce costs to the community in the long term, while increasing equity. In one instance, a fire-affected community using the Zone Captains approach was 97% rebuilt after only 3 years, compared to other communities that were less than halfway rebuilt over the same period.
The Zone Captains approach can save money and time in the long term, create accountability, reduce redundancies, and help resist disaster capitalism if communities take the time to set it up initially.
Government leaders are much more likely to welcome community input and share information and resources with a well-organized representative constituency. We have already seen that happening first-hand as city, county, and state officials have reached out to emergent leaders in our community for involvement.
We continue to grow our partners in this program’s creation (currently involving representatives from Phoenix/Talent School District, the Latinx community, elderly, low income residents, business owners, agricultural communities, and mobile home owners), and will soon start to assign Zone Captains.
Do I need to live in a Fire Affected Zone to be a Captain?
No. Displaced residents and business owners with a keen desire to return to their former neighborhoods can be Zone Captains. That said, previous or ongoing residency/business operation in the affected zone is a requirement. Zone Captains are powerful because—as a member of these fire affected zones—they have a better understanding of the community needs and a hyper-localized approach that can allow for a culturally-appropriate response for their neighborhood.
Will translation services be available for my zone to create an inclusive program?
Yes. We are working to provide voice-to-text translation services for neighborhood zoom meetings, and whenever possible will work to make sure resources are available in both English and Spanish.
Can more than one person represent their zone?
Yes. We feel that multiple engaged voices can create a more holistic recovery approach, and both business and residential zones should have a variety of voices at the table. In regards to residential zones with an identified latino/a/x population needing greater inclusion, it is the intention of the program to provide a latino/a/x Co-Captain to ensure an equitable recovery from beginning to end.
What if I am not comfortable with computer communication – can I be a Zone Captain?
Yes and No. Computer literacy is certainly a skill that will be valued in a Zone Captain (especially during the time of Covid) and will weigh in any final decision regarding hiring. The ability to communicate upward to decision-makers, host zoom meetings for social distance, and disseminate resources will likely require some amount of electronic communication. That said, if a zone is serving a population with widespread computer illiteracy issues it is reasonable to expect that a Zone Captain (or more likely, a co-captain) who is not fluent in digital communications can serve their neighborhood.