Join Us Thursday Feb 11 at 7 pm

Join us tomorrow evening for the Trib Talks forum “Are We An Us?’  The world-cafe style forum will be held at the ARC, 1701W. Ash St., at 7 pm. We will dig deeper into themes that emerged during our last session and our on-line forums.

These were citizen centered planning, addressing inequities, and building bridges.

What is citizen-centered planning?  One thing it involves is leadership that accurately informs citizens.  During our last forum citizens expressed a desire for the Trib to make it easier for them to track coverage on complex issues, like the current transmission line controversy.  The Trib has responded with a new archive on infrastructure issues.  Come and share additional thoughts on how our planning for growth might be improved.

There are many groups in Columbia working to address needs for food and shelter.  Affordable housing, and outreach through efforts like Project Homeless Connect have been in the news. Bring your ideas on what more might be done.

And over the last month uniting the diverse elements of our community has been a theme of many events – from the the city-sponsored diversity breakfast, to a unity concert, to a multicultural cooking class sponsored by the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. Come and share your thoughts on how we might bridge our gaps.

Join us at the ARC and here on-line!



Poverty and Our Community

The Tribune’s City Editor Matt Sanders presented the facts on the number of children receiving free and reduced price lunch in our schools in an op-ed Sunday.  He also outlined what the schools are doing to help children in poverty.  Several of those who commented on the article were less than sympathetic.

What kind of community do we want to be?  “Are We An Us?” was a question raised in our past forums and will be the topic of our next forum scheduled for next Thursday evening, February 11, at the ARC, from 7 to 9 pm.  Join us as we explore questions related to community here in Columbia, MO.

Another opportunity for information and dialogue directly related to the questions Matt raised occurs Monday night, February 8, 6 pm, also at the ARC, as the Cradle to Career Alliance screens the film “Wounded Places“.  This film explores the effects that chronic poverty has on children.  Members of the Minority Men’s Network and the Worley Street Roundtable will facilitate the post movie discussion.

And if you want to take Matt’s challenge to explore your assumptions about poverty, here is a place to begin: Poverty USA.

Trib Talks: What’s Happened So Far

The Columbia Tribune launched its “Trib Talks Forums” as part of a joint learning exchange with the Kettering Foundation in May 2015, starting with an issue guide on politics and democracy.  One purpose of this exchange is to look at ways in which the media can help strengthen the citizen voice in our evolving political system.As part of the learning exchange we are experimenting with different kinds of dialogue platforms and hosting dialogues on those topics that those who participate want to discuss.

The first forums were on-line and used the “Cover It Live” platform that was designed for sports.  You can view transcripts of these forums on the Trib Talks Forums archive page.  An in-person forum, co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Minority Men’s Network was held at the ARC in September 2015. We also asked for and received feedback through surveys and polls.

Although citizens raised many specific issues, including those relating to jobs, safety, and development, the overall focus was on the question of who we are and where we are going as a community.

In 2008 a report from a citizen-led visioning process sponsored by the city included this stated goal: “Columbia will be an inclusive community where people from all walks of life hear, appreciate, understand, respect, and trust each other, and where positive relationships are fostered and human rights are advanced.” In our 2015 dialogues citizens indicated continuing interest in this type of goal, and expressed concern with a “lack of community”.

Lack of a common vision for our future was another theme across the forums, reinforced by comments like “we seem to be drifting” or “In Columbia folks seem to be saying, ‘If it’s not on my side of town, I don’t care.'”

Forum participants also asked questions like “are we an us?” and “what would it be like if we could come together as one WHOLE community?”  These are questions worth pursuing and we are interested in your thoughts.

You can participate in further dialogue on this blog, or join us at our scheduled forum, February 11, 2016 at the ARC, 1701 W. Ash St, 7 to 9 pm.