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Civic Life International

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4.3.07
CLI Frames Dayton Race Relations From Fetzer Institute/PBS Nationwide Dialogue Project

Since December 12, 2006 when this project started with the participation of Dayton Mayor, Rhin McLin, about 156 diverse members of our community have met several times, at the local PBS Station, THINK T.V, using various conversation models including: focus group, ASG, deliberative problem solving, sustained dialogue etc, to learn from one another and share thoughts, wisdom, knowledge, suggestions and ideas about how and what actions of "Love' could be transforming for individuals and for the Greater Dayton community alike. One result of the sustained dialogue project is a community issue framework called Race Relation & Violence In Dayton: What Else Can We Do?

As Dayton, OH marks the 20th anniversary of the International Peace accord and becomes a home for people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, finding more practical approaches to issues of race relation and violence may be Dayton’s greatest promise and greatest challenge. The issue framework is designed to promote deliberation that can help us find common ground for collaborative actions on these troubling issues . This framework, informed by the collective thoughts' ideas and suggestions of diverse members of our community provides an overview of the issues and outlines three different approaches.

Each approach speaks for one set of community priorities and views and, drawing ideas from across a spectrum of stakeholders, suggests a different direction for people in the Greater Dayton area to pursue as we confront the issues in our community, initiate community action projects that might help us break down barriers that have divided us in the past and hopefully lead to better understanding and ongoing relationships.

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Approach 1: Education & Community Engagement
This perspective says inadequate educational and engagement opportunities for people to learn about others who are different from them is major cause of stereotyping and violence in our community. Proponents of this approach say lack of understanding of and about the other is a problem we need to address. Supporters of this approach say if we do this and connect with individuals at the core of their spirituality; if we stress the golden rule of "love your neighbor like yourselves" and create more opportunities for people, especially youths in our community, to learn how to speak with respect; listen deeply; develop a consciousness of the other; develop a sense of trust; and build relationships with people who are different from them, the Dayton community shall have transforming results.

Approach 2: Public Awareness Campaign & Strategic Law Enforcement
Proponents of this approach say lack of information and resources about the various forms of bias, bigotry and hate violence, including how to identify them, report them and seek redress are the major obstacles to improving race relations and increasing actions of love in our community. This approach says an intensive public awareness campaign about these issues and an improved mechanism for monitoring and reporting acts of bias and hate violence will deter perpetrators and lead to a change in attitude among members of the community.

Approach 3: Economics, Inclusion & Diversity
This perspective says racism and violence in our community stem from economic disempowerment and the feeling that there is no "real" inclusion, diversity or equal opportunities in the workplace. This approach says to reduce apathy and disenchantment there should more collaboration with the local chamber of commerce ; an effective diversity policy, training of small business owners and a community mechanism to ensure that the employment, retaining and promotion of qualified people of various backgrounds, ages, abilities and cultures, as represented in increasingly diverse Dayton community.

The publication will soon be available for order nationwide

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