Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box with your very important question. And it is certainly a very big question as well.
Those who are concerned about marginalized communities have written entire books about them.
But in short form, we regard marginalization as one in which a certain group or class of residents are isolated from the larger community or society, and in which they have little formal power, low informal influence, and do not receive a proportional amount of resources relative to need. Marginalization of a segment of the community may be a deliberate decision of the city’s leaders, or it may occur through unintentional neglect. But the effects are similar.
The members of marginalized communities also tend to be poorer and less well educated than other community members. Their employment prospects are more limited, and they commonly have less access to good health care.
The issues facing marginalized communities, accordingly, are those of gaining power, influence, and an appropriate share of the community’s resources. It is often a challenge to do so, since those who are marginalized may lack material or organizational resources, and community leaders may not be eager to share power with others whom they might see as threatening them. Therefore, strong and sustained advocacy by or on behalf of marginalized communities may be called for, though this is not always easy to come by.
We hope some of these suggestions may be helpful to you. Thanks again for writing, and best wishes as your work continues.