Build Bridges – Join Us September 20

In the Trib Talks June on-line forum we talked about “Our Town.” One participant referenced the “mixture of harmony and tension that underlies growth and diversity”. As in past forums, participants expressed concern about divides developing between North and South Columbia. Another participant observed “we need more opportunities that bring dissimilar people together to learn that we actually have more in common than not.”

After the forum yet another participant offered these comments through our survey:

I would like to see more joint projects between the universities and colleges and the youth of Columbia through the public schools and/or community organizations.

Most leaders do not interact with all the citizens! #1 would help break down these walls of economic and culture differences. It may allow a larger group of people to cross these cultural/ economic lines.

James Brown said, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door, and and I’ll get it my self. Education and shared experiences are the keys to open doors!

What divides are you concerned about?  What bridges would you like to see built?  Join us and other citizens for an in-person forum this Tuesday, September 20, from 7 to 9 pm at the Tribune’s offices. Enter from Walnut street.  We hope to see you there.

 

Host A Dialogue!

Concerned about where we going as a country and as a community?  What can an ordinary citizen do to make a change?  You can help by participating in a new kind of conversation – one that focuses on “all of us” and not “us” v. “them”.   You can join in one of the Trib Talk Forums, or host your own conversation in your neighborhood, with your dinner group, in your faith community, or anywhere that your friends and neighbors gather.  Begin by downloading the community dialogue guide “Are We An Us?“, or one of the related mini-guides, “Addressing Inequities“, “Citizen Centered Planning“, or “Building Bridges“.  We have a checklist which will help you plan dialogues within your neighborhood or organization and report back in on thoughts shared.

Are We An Us? Part 3

Our forum participants asked the question “are we an us?” long before the violence of the last two weeks left leaders nationwide calling for dialogue. Efforts by local leaders to create more dialogue included a news conference where the issue of racial profiling was discussed, and an open mic event sponsored by MU’s Black Studies department.

To make a difference, dialogue needs to be sustained. It’s up to each of us to reach out, to listen, to share our own thoughts, to listen again, and to stay engaged.

Wondering where you might start? You can start by downloading the community dialogue guide “Are We An Us?“, or one of the related mini-guides, “Addressing Inequities“, “Citizen Centered Planning“, or “Building Bridges“.  We also have a checklist which will help you plan dialogues within your neighborhood or organization and report back in on thoughts shared.

The Tribune publication “Sharp End”, published in 2015, can also serve as a starting point for discussions about race in Columbia, as can the documentary “Battle: Change From Within“.  The “Charleston Syllabus,” which was created in response to the June 2015 murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina provides many additional resources.

Do you have additional resources to share?  Add your suggestions in the comment section below.

Building Bridges – Suggestions From The Community

A young lawyer from China, who lived in Columbia and participated in our last forum recently wrote us with the following suggestion:

I asked several of my friends, who are from different countries, that question “How to build bridges between communities”  and several of them suggested that sports may be a good way, especially soccer. Therefore, I think a city sponsored soccer tournament might be considered to connect people for different communities in Columbia. This tournament can be named as the “Columbia small world cup”.

 

He then listed several reasons why such a soccer tournament could be a good tool for building bridges in our community. These included:

1) Soccer is very popular in Columbia. As far as I know, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Myanmar, Ghana, Mexican, and some people from Middle East have their own soccer teams and play soccer every week. However, these teams rarely play with each other. A soccer tournament can provide opportunities for these soccer teams to know each other, play together, and build up deep relationships.

2) A soccer tournament will be a small cost event for the city. The main cost for a soccer tournament is renting soccer fields. However, since the city owns lots of nice soccer fields, for example Cosmo park, the cost will be very small if the city is willing to hold a soccer tournament. In addition, the city can charge affordable registration fee ($200~300/team) from soccer teams to minimize its cost.

3) Lots of people may attend a soccer tournament. Usually one soccer team has 20 players, and their families and friends will come and watch the games.

 

Join our online forum tomorrow, June 21 from 5 to 6 and share your ideas for building bridges across our community.  Go to www.columbiatribune.com and follow the prompts.

Have thoughts about how to make a “Columbia small world cup” tournament a reality?  Share them in the comment section below!

 

 

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!

 

 

A Bridge Begun

The healing power of music was evident on Saturday night as the Columbia Chorale, Columbia Youth Choirs and Community Gospel Choir combined for a community concert promoting unity at the Missouri United Methodist Church.  The choir was diverse, the audience was diverse and the music was enjoyed by all who packed the pews, both on the main floor and the balcony. The program notes for “Where Do We Go From Here”, composed by the Community Gospel Choir conductor Lamont Walker and featuring the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., included this statement:

Right now, the Columbia Community is in need of unity to usher in healing to the broken, hurting, wounded, and oppressed. Sincere, authentic, and unconditional love for mankind will break down all of the walls and barriers that divide us.  It is that love that will bind hate, pierce color lines, and demand justice for all.”

Judging from the attendance, there are many in Columbia looking to bridge that which divides us.

Community Helps Community

Community begins with helping each other. Here are pictures of youth and community members who came together on  August 31, 2014 at McKee Park to help clean up and celebrate community.  McKee Park was where one of our youth, Tre’Veon Marshall, was killed in 2013 as he walked with friends.  Do you have an example of community members coming together on their own to help strengthen our community?  Send us a picture and a paragraph and we will post it here.

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