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Civic Valentines

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Adults | Government

Last October, the Choose Civility Initiative offered a series of “Civic Writing” lunches, with the intention of supporting public participation through writing — that is, writing letter’s to the editor, op-eds, blog posts — even tweets!  I was so pleased to recently receive an email from a participant who did in fact write a letter and get it published in the Portland Press Herald (read it here, and then consider keeping the conversation going with a letter of your own).

She followed up by noting that once she’d written her LTE, it was easy to convert into a letter to her Senators, too!

We hope her experience is inspiring to you, too.  This snowy Valentine’s Day is a great day to engage friends and families in a civic art / civic writing project — let policy makers and your fellow community members know what is on your heart and mind by making them a Valentine!

For support / inspiration check out these links:

The University of Kansas’s Community Tool Box offers some excellent resources for prompting letters to Legislators and To the Editor.

Portland Press Herald Online LTE form

Use this online site to find out how to contact your  State Senators and Representatives or HERE for the Congressional Delegation  or make and send Valentine’s to the addresses below!

Governor LePage
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

President Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

If you would be interested in joining a civic writing workshop in the future, share your ideas by emailing simmons@portland.lib.me.us.

 


Black History Month & Civil Rights Act of 1964

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Library Collections | Online Services | Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Government | Portland History

Black History Month offers us many invitations for learning.  We’re encouraged to learn more about the contributions of individuals in history who may not have originally made our history lessons :  black artists, inventors, authors…

P.S. Be Eleven

We’re also encouraged to learn about American history through a lens of race relations.  Understanding more about the experience of slavery, more about the experience of segregation and desegregation, more about the civil rights movement, etc.  allows us to make clearer sense of how racism exists today and allows us more tools to address racism in our society.

Finally, Black History Month brings race into our collective awareness, providing us with more opportunities to directly consider race and racism and to commit to new strategies for anti-discrimination.  This is a particularly interesting year, as 50 years has passed since the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed which made segregation illegal and paved the way for the Voting Rights Act and the end of the Jim Crow era.

BlindspotLearn more about Implicit Bias at the  ProjectImplict  website and the new book Blindspot  Watch American Promise online  – a POV documentary about race, class, education and growing up
Bookmark this Civil Rights Act calendar which details programming happening throughout 2014

 

 These resources only skim the surface of possible places for learning… share your favorite texts, films, websites, and programs in our comments section!


Great Meetings – Free Training on February 8th

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

Meetings are an essential element to community work.  Most action is made stronger through the engagement of more people, the shift to collective action, and collective action usually requires meetings.  There are some great resources to help those planning meetings make them better but nothing beats an in-person training session!

To that end, the League of Women Voters of Maine and Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative  are pleased to offer two FREE facilitation workshops.  Seating is limited, so save your space for one or both by registering here Feel free to share this information with others.

Saturday February 8th  at Portland Public Library Main Branch, Meeting Room # 5 

 9:30 – 11:30 :   Never Another Useless Meeting : Meeting Facilitator Training

This training is intended for those just beginning to convene meetings AND those with a lot of experience who would like to share support and gain new skills.  The focus will be broad enough to include core facilitation skills for all kinds of meetings – big and small, public or private.

11:30 – 12:30 :  Lunch break – on your own (brown bags welcome)

12:30 – 2:30 :  The Balancing Act of Candidate and Issue Forums : From Design to Day-Of Details

This session will focus on the range of issues to consider when convening a community forum to discuss election issues, including candidate forums and forums on particular ballot questions.

Both sessions will be conducted by Anne Schink,a consultant in volunteer management, training, and facilitation offering services to nonprofit organizations, public entities, and faith-based organizations. From 1995 to 2009 Anne was the Program/Training/Disability Officer at the Maine Commission for Community Service. In 2007 Anne received the CVA designation from the Council on Certification in Volunteer Administration.   Anne currently serves on the National Board of the League of Women Voters.

For more information, contact Kim Simmons, coordinator of Choose Civility Portland at simmons@portland.lib.me.us  or 207-871-1700 or Karla Wight at  karlanjoe@aol.com  or 207 210-6572

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