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Group and community are two terms that often times are used interchangeably, but a distinction is made given the varying contexts they are used in. A person can have a sense or feeling of community. You can be a part of a group without a real connection to its members. You can be designated as part of a group. Where I think the concepts of community and group differ is how actively people who are a part are engaged and can define their own role within.

For community to be formed, there is more active and conscious engagement. Trust, familiarity, commonality is nurtured through daily interaction with the people and larger values and common goals of the community. Being a “member” or having membership individualizes a person’s experiences, thoughts, and ideas, which can further separate them from the people they are meant to be in cooperation with. Belonging, however, situates an individual in the larger context of those around them. In that, feeling that you belong to a community instead of simply being a member of one, you see yourself as a part of something larger. Groups can often have the idea of membership instead of belonging. A common goal can be present, but without a real connection to others who are a part there isn’t community.

I think being in a group can inspire a community. Ultimately, there is a commonality found in both senses, which can be very inspiring and uniting for people striving towards change at whatever level or instance that may be. Both are able to give people a goal. However, I think what is important to acknowledge is that a common goal requires active and conscious engagement with those that share that goal and action beyond just having that commonality. Still a recognition of that commonality is an important first step to thinking in terms of cooperation instead of individualism.