What is a Community Forum?
A community forum is an opportunity for proponents of an issue to get together and discuss how this issue affects their lives, communities and what steps can be taken to educate a diverse group (including, but not limited to, the faith community, civic leaders and business leaders) on the issue. Events could include a discussion group, community briefing, or panel presentation.
Why Community Forums Are Needed
As a leading civil and human rights organization addressing civil rights issues, LCCR/LCCREF is positioned to help organize events that can help to do the following:
1. Generate Public Awareness/Build Civic Participation
Community forums are opportunities to generate public awareness and discussion on various civil rights issues. An event around a particular issue will provide a forum for multi-sectored key constituencies, including inter-faith and civil rights organizations, the business community, and students, to hear knowledgeable individuals talk about the issues at stake. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and strategize with others about next steps and/or actions to be taken.
2. Develop New Leaders and Reach Out to New Individuals/Organizations
Providing a forum such as this can help identify leaders, recruit new activists, and reach out to diverse groups in your community.
3. Increase Your Organization’s Visibility
Federal priority issues impact local communities, and public policy activities are often easiest to publicize when this connection is made. Sparking a conversation in your community will gain visibility and energize key constituencies to work on priority issues. This will also serve to educate members of the media as well.
Do You Think Your Issue Is Too Complex To Discuss?
A primary goal of a community forum is to draw attention to the issue. Even if every question cannot be answered, or every provision cannot be discussed, your meeting will encourage people in your community to learn more about this important issue. The forum will also serve as a barometer for understanding the prevalent attitudes in your community on the issue.