There are dozens of complicated and controversial public policy issues on the agenda for action at City Hall, the State House and in the US Congress that won’t be resolved for months or years or maybe never. Most of these directly affect Dorchester residents and the quality of their lives.
Meanwhile, local resident activists and civic organizations are finding ways to address the same issues and find often temporary stop-gap first-step practical solutions for their children, their families, and their neighbors -- in their own neighborhoods.
To highlight those efforts First Parish Dorchester and the Bowdoin Geneva Residents Association are launching a series of civic forums to connect resident activists and civic organizations engaged in neighborhood-based campaigns to fix a compelling sympathetic problem with a practical achievable solution.
The goal of the Dorchester Civic Forum series is to offer a space for resident activists to present resident-driven solutions to community issues and decide how to work together to influence the policy-making process at city, state and federal levels and effect positive change.
Anticipated topics of panel discussions for 2015 so far include the following “healthy community indicators”:
• Good Jobs/Living Wage (implementation of minimum.wage, paid leave, resident hiring);
• Climate Change (address environmental injustice, green justice, energy efficiency);
• Education of Our Children (access, quality, safety, transportation, ELL);
• Immigration & Immigrants (implement administrative reforms, citizenship programs);
• Housing (affordability, smart growth, community participation);
• Healthcare Resources & Access (outreach and enrollment of residents);
• Public Safety & Police Relations (resident-driven activities that build positive and productive relations between residents and police).
The first Dorchester Civic Forum will meet tomorrow ( Fri., Feb. 6) at 7pm. This initial gathering will discuss education issues, focusing specifically on transportation logistics for extended school days for English Language Learners (ELL) and integrated special education students.
Members of engaged parent groups and civic associations who have been working in their neighborhoods to develop specific proposals and solutions will be sharing their stories, and we welcome others to join us to do the same.
After this initial presentation by residents, there will be an opportunity for representatives from various advocacy organizations and public officials to offer clarification and advice for action. Elected officials and their staff are welcome to attend and listen and respond to specific questions.
The Dorchester Civic Forum is presented in partnership by First Parish Dorchester and the Bowdoin Geneva Residents Association. It will meet the first Friday of every month (except for July and August), at 7 p.m. in the historic Meetinghouse Hall (10 Parish Street). There is no admission fee and coffee and tea will be provided. A plate of snacks to share is welcome from those who can. Forums will end promptly at 9 p.m.
To sign up for email announcements of upcoming Dorchester Civic Forum events and related planning meetings, either go to groups.google.com/a/firstparishdorchester.org/d/forum/civicforum or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Posts are made by the Civic Forum organizers only. It is not a discussion list. You may unsubscribe at any time.
All residents of Dorchester, Judy Meredith and Jenn Cartee are active in First Parish Dorchester and Jennifer Johnson and Michael Groves are co-chairs of the Bowdoin Geneva Residents Association.