Medellin is full of Citizens Like You
A man walks through downtown Medellín. Carries on his back, with relative difficulty, a transparent bag full of colored balls. Suddenly, the bag breaks. The balls fall, bounce, are watered, as if a rainbow would have wanted to throw itself to roll in all directions. The man looks around, undecided as to where to start running to pick up the balls he can reach. But something started to happen since the first ball fell to the ground and someone noticed. From the nearby shops, from the benches, stopping their walk, pausing in the conversation they had previously held, the citizens come to help. One by one they add up and there are many hands that come with four or five balls in each one. The people smile and the man thanks them. What could have taken a long time is solved instantly. In less than ten minutes the bag is full again and we can celebrate that Medellin is full of Citizens Like You.
At the beginning of 2018, the Citizen Culture Secretaryship initiated the strategy Medellín is full of Citizens Como Vos ( Like You), whose objective is to propose a conversation around mutual recognition. We are convinced that the citizens of Medellín, constantly contribute to the coexistence and the world citizen culture, and for that reason we decided to tell all those stories, all those data that make us feel proud of the city, because we believe that it is worth having them present the moment we need to relate to each other and live our everyday in the city. We proposed then to make visible those pro-social behaviors, to thank the actions that contribute to coexistence and to the world citizen culture, and to propitiate confidence scenarios.
In these three senses, we have had, for example, thank-you comparsas (parades), which are invisible theater exercises where they recognize, with a small celebration, behaviors such as throwing garbage in the bin, or stopping the car before a zebra crossing to leave pass to pedestrians. It is about putting the focus on those everyday acts that we all have, but of whose value, many times, we are not aware. Whoever experiences a comparsa (parade) surely will talk about it and remember it for a long time. A few days ago we brought serenades to citizens who stand in line to get on public transport: a spontaneous, simple, completely natural act and whose importance for mobility and respect for the fellow citizen is gigantic. Citizens asked for songs and joined the singing. To inhabit the city is also that, to tune together, to sing in company.
We believe in the power of thanking those wonderful common actions that contribute daily to coexistence, to compliance with standards, to safe and sustainable mobility. Up until now, we have sent 5.829 “photo doing it fine” (Fotocultas), which are the opposite of “photo penalty” (fotomultas), to thank the drivers of Medellín for behaviors such as giving way to the pedestrian in the zebra crossings, respecting the anti-blocking perimeters, driving one on one on the road . These acknowledgments are complemented by the delivery of “Cultas” (doing it fine tickets) (2.487, so far) by Medellin transit agents, who are also delivering thanks to citizens in different parts of the city.
And how can we not thank the inhabitants of Medellín? In 2018 the city was filled with Trust Stores. We had 500 stores that had no one to attend them, each person approached the store, paid the price for his shopping, and took back the change by themselves in case there was any. No one cared or watched over, no one was paying attention. More than twelve thousand citizens interacted with the stores and the percentage of payment was up to 98 percent. This year we launched the Trust Bus, transported more than 1.400 passengers, traveled more than 700 kilometers, and the percentage of payment was 100 percent!
We talk about trust, gratitude, and mutual recognition. As citizens we look at each other in the eye and say yes, we create together, we believe together in the wonderful common of inhabiting Medellin, of dreaming it, of building it every day from the everyday actions. Medellín is full of Citizens Like You is the opportunity to thank and promote all those ways in which, as citizens, we contribute to coexistence and civic culture, so that we can all continue celebrating that city which we are proud of.