Thursday, December 18, 2008

Community Conversations

Common Council member Ron Klattenberg is using the inauguration of Barack Obama as an occasion upon which to engage community members in the changes we'd like to see happen in Middletown. Here's the information he's sent along.  If people are interested, NEAT could host an event...

Where are “We the People”? The answer is in Middletown, according to a group of citizens invited to come together by Councilman Ronald Klattenberg. On Tuesday January 20, 2009, the country will pause to Inaugurate the 44th President of the United States, President-elect Barack Obama, and this informal group feels that may be the best time for the people of Middletown to come together and focus, as a community, on the questions most important to the greater Middletown area in this time of great change and opportunity. 

The group (currently acting as a planning committee) has secured Russell Library for 12 noon and at 6:00 pm on Inauguration Day for the public to watch President Obama address the nation together and participate in a facilitated community conversation. This is a not a political event but rather a grassroots initiative to identify the needs of our community in these difficult times. We will record reactions and prioritize ideas that will help Middletown proactively contribute to and take advantage of the inevitable change which is coming. Obviously, the Library has limited space, so the Community Conversations group is asking any and all community organizations in the Middletown area to join this effort and host focused conversations at other sites including homes, thus creating a true community event with the largest possible representation of needs and concerns. 

Community organizations are asked to contact the planning committee to contribute additional sites, obtain assistance, distribute information or help in any way to make this an engaging and exciting community success. There will be a second planning meeting on December 20th, 10:00 am, in the Library’s Hubbard Room, to develop a general Community Conversations format, assess resources needed and prepare for a facilitators training meeting scheduled for January 3. 

This effort will need volunteer facilitators, sites and of course the people of our diverse community. In the end, we will record and collect results that will culminate in an unprecedented document of what the people of Middletown feel are the priorities for our City. This is the first step toward effective change. 

Any organization or group of individuals interested in supporting this effort in any way is asked to immediately contact Councilman Grady Faulkner at or 860-344-9395 in order to begin organizing and identifying host sites to publish for the general public. If individuals are having private celebrations, it is important to have those discussion results included as well.

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