One of the three stools of the Interactivity Foundation’s (IF) mission is public policy discussion. This year, we launched an Urban Initiative—discussions in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and West Palm Beach, Fla. By the end of 2012 we expect to host 60 discussions in these areas. Our goal is to seed a culture of thoughtful, civil and nonpartisan public policy exploration. Here are some of the ways the initiative is taking root, and ways you can get involved:
Bison Salon. This partnership with alumni of historically black Howard University began as monthly policy dinner discussions in January 2012 and has expanded to three meetings per month. This group is also reaching out to alumni clubs from other universities with the goal of having racially integrated public discussions in Washington D.C. For more information, please email Kellyathu@yahoo.com
IF…En Espanol. The inaugural bimonthly Spanish-language policy discussion took place in August at Latin American Montessori Bilingual School, a D.C. charter school, and was facilitated in Spanish by Allison Brown, civil rights lawyer and founder of Allison Brown Consulting. For more information, email email@example.com
Freshwater Salon. This is a partnership with the Freshwater Project, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit run out of the historic Cracker Johnson House (built by a millionaire entrepreneur and numbers-runner in the 1920s.) The historic Freshwater community, once home to the city’s black elite, is experiencing a revival, and IF is excited to sponsor bimonthly policy dinner discussions at the site of the ongoing restoration. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Conversation Club, Philadelphia. IF is hosting regular policy discussions on a variety of topics at a restaurant near University of Pennsylvania. For more information, please email email@example.com
Couples Lounge. These are monthly policy discussions facilitated by veteran urban educator Dr. Lannette Woodruff in Washington, D.C. This is a venue for couples, mostly with school-age children (babysitting is provided) to explore different issues related to public policy. For more information, email Lannette.firstname.lastname@example.org
Chez Billy. IF has partnered with Chez Billy—a restaurant that just experienced a grand renovation near the Petworth, Washington D.C. Metro stop. During our first meeting of Howard alumni there, a local judge who participated remembered when Billy’s “was the place to be” and was delighted that in its new life, it is once again a place for dialogue about issues that matter. IF will be a regular presence at Chez Billy for the second half of 2012.
Bison on the Vineyard. IF was invited by Howard alumni to participate in Bison on the Vineyard, as part of the August event offerings such as panel discussions and Continuing Legal Education workshops. IF hosted two well-received discussions on the island of the “Helping Out” and “Food” reports. We are busy with plans to make this an annual event. For more information about Bison on the Vineyard, email HUBisonlove@aol.com