You Can Make A Difference

Join us for another Community Commons on October 18 from 7-9 pm at the Tribune offices (enter on Walnut St. between 4th and Providence).

Those who attended the first Community Commons held on September 20, divided into two separate groups for two separate, wide ranging conversations.

In the first, the focus was on building bridges and addressing inequities. Recognizing that inequity/inequality is very difficult to change, the group asked “what could we offer now so our children and grandchildren especially aren’t sitting around talking about this?” Ideas included special zoning to facilitate places where people could gather and interact, more press about activities in the African- American community that is informed by leaders in that community (it was noted those leaders should be identified by the black community and not denominated by those outside), more marketing and diversification of minority owned businesses, and the need for minority communities to also create community among their own members so as to better connect and celebrate accomplishments. The need for more dialogue among all citizens was also emphasized. The group also discussed various types of events that would help break down “taboo” things and locations. Come and contribute your ideas on October 18!

Another group focused on citizen-centered planning. Much of the discussion in this group focused on the stalled transmission line, which was brought up as an example of “broken governance.” Questions asked here included, “Who does council talk to? Just the loudest self interested voices? Experts available to them? Staff?” “How can we better involve citizens at the appropriate best time, not at the last minute?”, “How can we elevate issues to a focus on the public good?” and “How could those harmed or experiencing a monetary loss as a result of a decision made for the common good be compensated?” During the discussions a  distinction was made between “politicians” who are easily swayed by public dissent and “statesmen” who work to understand, translate, and resolve complex issues and move the community forward. Characteristics of “statesmen” that were identified included respecting process, respecting staff, focusing on the common good, and being honest about the hard issues. Participants agreed that citizens needed to be more involved on an ongoing basis as these issues unfolded and that both citizens and leaders needed to be accountable for their actions. What constitutes accountability and how do we achieve it?   Join us on October 18 as we explore this issue further.

We look forward to seeing you on October 18.

“Loving All Our Neighbors”

Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks and the Islamic Center of Central Missouri have announced they will be holding a community conversation on inclusion, titled “Loving All Our Neighbors”, on Tuesday Feb. 16 at Rock Bridge Christian Church, 301 W. Green Meadows Rd., Columbia. This free gathering will include an optional potluck dinner at 6 p.m. and a panel discussion and community conversation starting at 7 p.m.

Come and discuss a range of related topics –inclusion, the embrace of diversity, addressing racism, Islamophobia, and the plight of refugees and undocumented people.

The panel of speakers for this event includes:

  • Rasha Abousalem, Director of Humanitarian Operations with Global First Responders, who led a mission last month to Calais, France camp where thousands of war refugees are temporarily living;
  • Alejo Gonzalez, MU English/Psychology student who works with at-risk youth;
  • Marquise Griffin, MU graduate student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program with an emphasis on Higher Education; and
  • Faisan Syad, Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) St. Louis.