16:17 PM

UHD's Center for Public Deliberation Hosts Interactive Forum on Community Problems

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, nearly 150 people packed the Special Events Center for the forum titled "Making Ends Meet: How Can We Spread Prosperity and Improve Opportunity?" — a community engagement event a part of Houston Citizenship Month 2015.

Windy Lawrence, founder and director of UHD Center for Public Deliberation (CPD), spearheaded the interactive forum, which featured a public roundtable discussion opened to students, faculty, staff and the UHD community. Among participants was UHD President Dr. Bill Flores.

Participants discussed various issues such as immigration, segregation and inequality.

"The turnout was absolutely amazing," said Lawrence. "We had many students, faculty, staff and external community members that attended. I think the full house largely has to do with the fact that many people resonate and connect with this critical issue."

Questionnaires were passed out to all attendees. Based on survey results, most participants had the following takeaways:

  • the ability to discuss openly and frankly on the issue
  • the understanding of their own attitudes and beliefs on this issue
  • the understanding of others' attitudes and beliefs on the issue
  • the ability to communicate more effectively with people who may have different beliefs on the issue
  • the understanding of the importance of their voice and perspective in solving community problems
  • the understanding of the importance of listening to others' voices (even those of everyday people) in solving community problems

Lawrence continued, "I think these types of findings are reasons why we at the Center for Public Deliberation continue to think these types of deliberative gatherings are critical for our society."

The Kettering Foundation will use the participants' input in this forum to write the final 2016 report for leaders.

Event sponsors included:

  • Avenue Community Development Corporation
  • Citizenship Month Houston
  • Houston Housing Authority
  • Lone Star College
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • The Institute for Business Ethics and Public Issues
  • UHD Center for Critical Race Studies
  • UHD Center for Public Deliberation (CPD)
  • UHD O'Kane Gallery
  • UHD Student Government Association (SGA)

The UHD CPD is a collaborative, nonpartisan group that encourages citizens to actively participate in the deliberative democracy process through public discussions about issues that affect their lives.