Be participatory

Being participatory enables us to open space, unlock community leadership and innovation, and share power - especially by centering marginalized community members typically left out of government business as usual.


Read this chapter in the manuscript.


Photo of Shari Davis

Shari Davis


Shari joined PBP staff after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government. As Director of Youth Engagement and Employment for the City of Boston she launched Youth Lead the Change, the first youth participatory budgeting process in the US, which won the US Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award. Shari first got involved in city government in high school, serving as the Citywide Neighborhood Safety Coordinator on the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council and working at the Mayor’s Youthline. Shari is a graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and holds a master’s degree in anatomy and physiology.

Photo of Rahel Mekdim Teka

Rahel Mekdim Teka


Rahel is an organizer, facilitator, and writer based in Oakland, CA. She is passionate about building power, storytelling, and Ethiopian food. A member of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), Rahel strives to bring a Black Queer Feminist lens to all aspects of her life. She leads the communications team at the Participatory Budgeting Project, a national organization that provides education, advocacy, and implementation support for community-led decision making across the U.S. In her spare time you can find Rahel watching movies, reading, and exploring new cities. If you ever need to buy her favor, books by Black women authors and tequila based cocktails are the way - don’t worry, she’ll drop hints.

Photo of Robbie Barton

Robbie Barton


Robbie is an educator, facilitator, and eco-social justice organizer based in Oakland, CA. As the Communications Associate on the Participatory Budgeting Project team, he weaves and bridges stories of participatory democracy in action, advances equitable public decision-making that shifts health, wealth, and power to communities, and connects with folks from across geographies and neighborhoods about the issues that impact their lives. He brings to this practice a wealth of experience as a youth educator, local government public servant, and climate justice advocate. In his spare time, you will find him relaxing in nature, nose deep in a good book, engaged in good conversation, or dancing like nobody’s watching.