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.
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 We’re encouraged to learn more about the contributions of individuals in history who may not have originally made our history lessons : black artists, inventors, authors…
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.
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.