Tuesday, August 28, 2001

'Parties' forming to view race forums

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Flanked by more than a dozen civic and community leaders, Cincinnati Community Action Now Co-chairman Tom Cody on Monday announced neighborhood “watch parties” to encourage viewing of a planned series of local TV and radio broadcasts on race relations.

        The broadcasts are a joint effort of local media called the Cincinnati Media Collaborative, which includes The Cincinnati Enquirer. The collaborative is producing and promoting a series of live, interactive forums on race relations in Greater Cincinnati starting Sept. 6. Forums will air on WCET (Channel 48) — which is producing the program — and other network affiliates over the coming months.

        Mr. Cody said the watch parties are designed to bring people of all colors together to discuss how to solve racial disparities in Cincinnati. He said he hopes that people will leave the watch parties with at least three things:

        • A realization that there are needs (in terms of racial disparities) that have to be addressed.

        • An emotional and intellectual understanding that change can happen.

        • An emotional and intellectual understanding that they can help make change happen.

        “Face-to-face dialogue with people different than ourselves is an important part of this process,” Mr. Cody said.

        Under the watch party concept, about 15 to 25 people will gather in homes and community halls across Greater Cincinnati to view the broadcasts and discuss possible solutions to the city's race issues. Trained moderators will be on hand at each party to facilitate dialogue and document strategies identified by participants.

        The parties will begin at 7 p.m. with a social hour and will conclude at 10 p.m. with a discussion about the telecast.

        So far, CAN leaders say more than 30 neighborhood, civic and community groups throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are partnering with them to organize watch parties for their members. Meanwhile, more than 20 public watch parties have been organized for the general public to view the program. These sites include community centers, public library branches and YMCA branches that can be found on the race commission's Web site, www.cincinnatican.org.

        A tool kit will also be available on the website that offers tips on how residents can create their own watch parties and include handouts and facilitation guides that can be downloaded.

        Individuals interested in participating in a public watch party must register in advance by calling the University of Cincinnati Evening College.

        Interested persons will be matched with a watch party location in their area. The parties are free and refreshments will be available.


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