The 5th in a series of community conversations
All who live, work, or worship in Winchester are encouraged to attend a Civic Gathering scheduled for February 28, at the Griffin Museum of Photography from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Regardless of whether you have attended none, some, or all of the previous gatherings, The Winchester Multicultural Network (the Network), the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Town Common Task Force hope you will join us to lend your voice to these important conversations.
History of the Civic Gatherings
On November 20, 2016, after being contacted by several residents, the Network convened Civic Gathering #1 at the Winchester Public Library to discuss strategies for promoting social justice and protect civil rights in Winchester. Led by Aba Taylor, Network Executive Director, and Tom Howley, Network community advisor, a standing-room only crowd shared experiences of living, working, and worshipping in Winchester. The passion and sincerity underlying individual stories moved everyone there. The community needed to continue this public conversation.
Following those conversations came Civic Gathering #2, held on February 17, 2017, at the Jenks Center and jointly sponsored by the Network, the Board of Selectmen, and the School Committee. Tom Howley led attendees in compiling an inspiring list of groups already at work in Town supporting constructive causes, and demonstrating values to which residents aspire, after which participants moved into self-selected roundtable topics to explore issues and organize themselves toward action.
Moving to historic Sanborn House, Civic Gathering #3 on May 18, 2017, provided an opportunity for the 15 to 18 newly formed, active small civic groups, as well as older, established groups to report on successes and challenges. A printed list of groups with contact persons was distributed to encourage future collaboration and resource-sharing.
An expanded organizing group, which arose out of Civic Gathering #3, led Civic Gathering #4 on September 18, 2017, at the Sons of Italy Hall. This Town Common Task Force, a loose-knit alliance of individuals and groups, is working to cultivate and sustain an even more collaborative, caring, and inclusive community. Front and center at the Civic Gathering was an image of the iconic Town Center red oak tree, and the participants discussed the mission and principles of a proposed Town Common, which is envisioned as both a live convener and virtual space for community engagement. Participants expressed a desire for a Town Common website and online calendar for support and information sharing.
Skill building for constructive conversation
Civic Gathering #5 continues the tradition of convening in person and furthers our dedication to fostering constructive collaboration. The evening will begin with the distribution of vegetarian koshari, the national dish of Egypt, by Koshari Mama Catering to strengthen our souls. Later, Essential Partners, a nationally-renowned nonprofit facilitation group, will lead a skill building exercise designed to enable groups and individuals in Winchester to have more constructive conversations. The evening will also feature reports from several newer community groups, and a chance to react via survey to the work underway to establish a digital platform for the Town Common initiative. Survey results will be shared as the Town Common initiative evolves.
We look forward to learning with and from you on February 28 at the Griffin Museum (67 Shore Road) at 6:30 pm during this free event. For further information, call 781-729-7100 or email our office.