City Club of Cleveland
Office of Citizen
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At City Club 03.07.05 NOTES: Youth Forum Series - Student Group On Race Relations
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2005 - 01:04.
The City Club of Cleveland's innovative Youth Forum Series featured a fantastic event on 03.07.08 for participants in the Student Group on Race Relations (SGORR), where probably around 200 high school students and educators and youth care professionals participated in discussions on issues of social consciousness.Â
It was fascinating how powerful this event was in concept and purpose. The format had dozens of tables set for small groups of students and caring professionals to discuss issues drawn from a listing of current news events: "American Idol gives the guys a break", "Race-based affirmative action admissions", "Wealthgap seen as top civil rights issue", "Tolerance talk flares after cartoon flap", and "Equal pay for women? Not till 2050".
The excellent facilitator for our group, a student from Shaker High School, chose our first topic as "Race-based affirmative action admissions" and we read a brief news story on the issue and discussed. The premise of the article was "affirmative action actually hurts blacks in terms of their career paths and not just in terms of their psyches". Here are some thoughts in reflection from my group:
The second topic we discussed was "Tolerance talk flares after cartoon flap" - we read an article on the noise in the press about "gay" representation in a cartoon, and discussed.
We break for brief presentation to the group about the Youth Forum. It is lead by a group of 25-30 high school students from around the region who work together at the City Club - a few hours per week - planning topics for forums and planning logistics. Several participants in this program speak up saying they consider this a very valuable experience and recommend other students get involved. Students should contact the City Club for more information!
The group now breaks for lunch and continues the discussions, still in small groups. We're each given four cards with "strongly disagree", "disagree", "agree" and "strongly agree" printed on them - as new topics are raised, we each show which care reflects our opinion and we discuss views and differences. Some topics surfaced are:
Ultimately, for every topic and discussion there were diverse beliefs expressed. It seemed about 75% of people felt one way - diverse opinions were expressed and discussed. In the end, we each gained great insith from the exchange. I would never have met most of the people in the room and never have otherwise hears so many viewpoints and personal perspectives on these issues. This is an effort that should be repeated every day, in every public forum in the area, and in our virtual community. The broader is each our voices and our communities where we explore serious issues the greater our foundation of diversity and ability to understand the needs and perspective of others - collaboration leads to greater tolerance and understanding.
Congratulations to the City Club, SGORR, Bellefaire JCB, and sponsor Alcoa Foundation for hosting this great forum.