Broken clouds
Broken clouds
28.4 °F
December 12, 2017
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

‘Kairos,’ space for listening

By Isaac Green Diebboll
August 3, 2016

The Sullivan County Human Rights Commission, Dialogue to Change initiative has sparked an action plan to cut bureaucratic red tape by creating a direct line of communication between community and government. This will be achieved by creating regularly recurring, two-hour-long gatherings every month, in a public space such as a firehouse, church or community center, for people to convene, share and listen to one another.

Over time, gathering spaces will be established in each legislative district or area deemed necessary. Space for listening is a safe environment, bound by trust, in which information shared is considered private. These gatherings are open for anyone to attend and are moderated by a facilitator who has a direct line of communication to the Human Rights Commission and/or to the Sullivan County Legislature.

At these gatherings, questions or concerns about government or specifically quality of life in Sullivan County can be directed to the facilitator. It is the facilitator’s job to sufficiently answer these questions, in which further research may be necessary to get correct information. The facilitator works with a team of facilitators to help navigate people to their answers. Public concerns voiced at gatherings may be represented to the legislature, or appropriate governmental organization if requested. The primary function of the gathering space is for people in the community to share and listen to one another’s stories about living in the region. People will share, one person at a time.

Space for listening allows individual people to connect, fostering greater awareness and unity within communities. This is a preventative measure to ensure a healthy social fabric with greater access to information. This is especially important in rural areas where Internet access is limited and public transportation is non-existent. People have a difficult time connecting and staying informed about ongoing activities. Space for listening allows people to learn about what’s going on and get answers to concerns that are important to them. Space for listening also helps people to organize and work together to develop projects and fill identifiable gaps in communities.

This first session took place in Hortonville on Monday, August 1. Subsequent meetings will take place the first Monday of every month, with the next scheduled for Monday, September 5. A location has not yet been selected, but will be publicized via newspaper and Internet.

[Isaac Green Diebboll is a resident of the Town of Delaware.]