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Choose Civility and Constitution Week!

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Business | Government | Portland History

The topic of civil discourse has emerged as a central concern in Maine and the Nation, during the past several years.  MPBN recently held its annual “Civility in Politics” call-in show, Colby College held a summit on the topic “Civil : The Way Politics Should Be”  (listen to the rebroadcast on MPBN) and the Maine Council of Churches has called for candidates to sign a “covenant of civil discourse.”  Much of this emphasis is on civility as respect and integrity in conversation.  Sometimes, calls for civility are used to discourage challenging conversation, but the best civic discourse allows a pathway for the most difficult conversations to occur productively,

Another way to think about civil discourse is that it is conversation meant to  promote a stronger Democracy.  In that way, civility is about giving people the information, tools and skills they need to understand community issues. Civics involves claiming the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship (defined broadly).  Civil discourse involves understanding how public issues and policy decisions effect people differently and understanding the various arguments or ideas surrounding an issue.  Libraries hold a unique role in promoting civility, in that access to good information is essential to a free society.

At Portland Public Library, the “Choose Civility” initiative is not a mandate — that’s not how library’s roll – but instead an invitation to join in a community-wide reflection on what civility means in different contexts, what conditions promote civic engagement, what obstacles prevent us from participating in our communities as fully as we might like. We have great books and films, a lot of programming, and a lot of gratitude –  to the Lerner Foundation for their support of this work, and to all those who are attending public conversation programs, sharing your stories and listening with respect and curiosity to others.

This fall, we are hoping that you will join us for an even deeper look at what it means to be a community and what we can all do to promote civility in our everyday lives and in our organizations.

Portland Public Conversations

Coffee & Networking 7:30am

Program 8:00am – 10:00am

September 3oth: Portland’s People, Who Lives Among Us?

Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us?
Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations – See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

November 25th: Participating Portland, Opportunities to Get Involved!

December 9th: Picturing Portland, Visioning Our Shared Future

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

Please tweet your thoughts and best hashtag ideas to

If you use Facebook, please consider “liking us” and “joining” our first event page.

 

 


August 26th = Women’s Equality Day

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Government

August 26th was National Women’s Equality Day, a day to commemorate the accomplishment of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The story of the  women’s suffrage movement is not a well known one, but it is an extraordinary tale of persistence (80 years were spent working on the enfranchisement of women in the USA) and daring (Alice Paul led a hunger strike to call attention to prison abuse happening to suffragettes) and innovative social movement tactics — while the image of the Victorian Lady (Downtown Abbey) might dominate in popular culture, the variety of ways that suffragettes embraced and challenged constructions of femininity to create political opportunities fascinates me.  As we gear up toward another chance to VOTE in Maine (69 days left as of August 26th 2014), consider learning a bit more about the events that led up to August 26th, 1920.

Download the National Women’s History Project 2014 brochure : http://www.nwhp.org/Equality_DayCopymaster2014.pdf

Or check out these updated book lists:

Just for fun, you might also want to view this video –  Bad Romance : Women’s Suffrage (a take on the Lady Gaga classic)

 


Talking about Race

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Art & Culture | Government

On September 9th at 7pm, PPL will host “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations” -  FMI, click here.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

For many of us, talking about race feels difficult.  It is easy to make a mistake and many of us are uncomfortable being vulnerable in public conversations.  Yet, in 2014, it is relatively essential that we develop our capacity to understand race as an historical concept, to understand disparities in health, economics, etc. as they relate to race, and that we engage in conversations with those who identify as differently from us in term of race and ethnicity – to share our own racialized stories and to hear those of others.   We need to collectively address racism to uphold the core values of Democracy, and we can’t address racism without more easily talking about race.

Pew Research conducted a survey this week, examining individuals’ response to the death of Michael Brown and subsequent protest activity in Ferguson MO and found that there are “stark racial differences” in how the events are understood.

 

This difference in perception and response reveals rich opportunities for civil and curious conversation, yet such conversations can also be challenging.  We invite you to explore the Choose Civility collection, and recommended links and books to learn more about race and racism in the United States in preparation for our upcoming 9/9 program “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations”  (7:00pm, Rines Auditorium, Main Library)

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