Screenshot from Katherine Massey’s obituary

Thank God for neighborhood busy bodies.

Those neighbors who get mad about one stop sign or a litter-filled alley, and their experience with City Hall launches a full-on vocation.

Sometimes the fight leads to justice, like in the case of Marsha Jackson, who moved shingle mountain in South Dallas with the help of environmental activists.

Watchdogs from neighborhoods all over Dallas take the time to ask questions and stand up. They’re writing emails, attending long hearings, making calls and figuring out WebEx. Our city needs more people like them.

That’s why the story of Katherine Massey stood out when I heard it on an episode of This American Life recently.

Massey, a busy body who notably wrote a letter to the editor of the Buffalo News urging gun control, was killed in the May 14 shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. But the radio story gives a fuller picture of her community work.

As writer Eve L. Ewing put it, Massey was a member of “the busy-body club. Aunties, literal or figurative, doers of the most. That one person you know who’s all up on everything.”

Massey once got something done on her street by petitioning the Governor of New York on behalf of the Cherry Street Block Club, which was just herself and some letterhead she designed.

Listen to “Kat” Massey’s story here, which also shows how she activated community members and inspired bureaucrats, and maybe we’ll find ourselves inspired to get more involved in our own neighborhoods.