A Public Voice 2017, the Kettering Foundation’s annual exploration of public thinking on key issues, will be held in Washington DC at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 9. This year’s event focuses on an issue important to all Americans: safety and justice.
In a rare occurrence in national politics, citizens from 10 communities around the country will join with policymakers to meet for a candid, detailed conversation about recent National Issues Forums dealing with the hard choices citizens confront when weighing possible actions on this difficult issue. For more than 30 years, the Kettering Foundation has organized A Public Voice, which brings together policymakers and practitioners of deliberative democracy from around the country to discuss insights from citizen deliberations.
This year, A Public Voice focuses on connecting forum moderators from 10 communities with staff members from their member of Congress. These forums were held in a broad range of diverse settings in their communities using the Safety and Justice issue guide, which was prepared by the Kettering Foundation for the National Issues Forums. These communities include: Alabama (statewide); Flagstaff/Sedona, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Indiana (statewide); Kansas (statewide); New York, New York; Dayton, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; and Washington DC. Congressional staffers from each of these districts, as well as a number of other national policymakers, will participate.
A Public Voice 2017 is designed to be a working meeting. Most of the 90-minute convening will consist of candid, detailed roundtable conversations with moderators and policymakers about recent Safety and Justice forums, as well as National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) members and other thought leaders. NIFI board member Gail Leftwich Kitch, of the Voter Participation Center, will act as this year’s emcee. The event will wrap up with remarks from Kettering Foundation President and CEO David Mathews, who is also the chair of the NIFI board.
The deliberative democracy network will also be included in the conversation via NIFI’s broadcast on Facebook Live. Moderators and others have been invited to add their own reflections on Safety and Justice forums. NIFI will pose questions to viewers and feed their ideas and questions back into the meeting itself.
If you’re interested in the results of this experiment, you can watch too. Join the event to receive updates and to set up a reminder notification to catch the livestream. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still watch the livestream by going to NIFI’s Facebook page at 1:30 pm EST on Tuesday.