Two leaders of the thriving Huntington Matters group are heading to California this week for a community forum organized by Facebook.
June Margolin and Dana Elliott Richter will participate in the Feb. 7-8 session at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.
They’ll be rubbing elbows with about 400 others who form an eclectic mix of community groups, including OctoNation, which bills itself as the largest octopus fan club with more than 96,000 fans, barbecue lovers, amateur car builders, people who have built pages around specific rare diseases, Dragon Con Cosplayers, the Stocks & Stilettos Society, which helps women of of color with investments, The Barracks, which assists veterans, and Oaxacanita chocolate.
The groups were chosen from thousands of applicants for their leadership and engagement of their communities through Facebook.
“They say we’ve turned our town around and there are a lot o things that contributed to that happening,” Margolin said. “We were so disconnected as a town we didn’t get the attention from our officials that we deserved. And all of that changed when we found our voice.”
The group mobilized after the murder of a teen in Huntington Station in 2014, one of four slayings that had occurred in the area since October of 2013. As residents grew angrier about the stabbing death of Maggie Rosales, people took to Facebook to complain that they weren’t being heard by authorities. From there, Margolin and others coalesced around the idea of making change and being heard by those in power.
Huntington Matters maintains a very active presence on Facebook, and works with the police and local officials when problems arise. On its forum page, people discuss everything from crime to school issues to recommendations for handymen.
Margolin will be one of 12 peer presenters on stage, speaking for 10 minutes about uniting the community and then taking questions.
A neighbor of Rosales, Adam Saafield, was convicted of her killing and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Another man,Fernando Romualdo, was convicted of killing Sarah Strobel in 2013.
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