***THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO IMPENDING SNOW
The first of 20 roundtable discussions to assess what is working well and not so well in regards to the operations of the state of Rhode Island is kicking off at 6 p.m. at Pilgrim High School on Wednesday.
TogetherRI is an initiative started by the Rhode Island Foundation to give a platform to everyday Rhode Islanders who may feel as though their voices haven’t been heard. They are hopeful that, by the end of the last session on May 5 in Providence, the Foundation will be able to work with URI to make some key observations about the public’s collective opinion on the Ocean State.
The meetings are informal, open to the public and will be had over a catered dinner. Politicians and other change agents are welcome but must “leave their stripes at the door,” meaning these discussions aren’t mean to be a soap box for a particular cause or persona to advertise their solutions for the state’s problems. Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg said Monday that about 70 people have registered to attend the Wednesday gathering at Pilgrim High. He stressed that registration, which can be done at www.togetherRI.org, is not necessary.
Participants are encouraged to sit with people they don’t know, and deliver their opinion regardless of how popular or unpopular it might be. The discussions are not about debating, but rather letting your opinion be heard and recognized in a modern climate where some feel as though they aren’t given the opportunity to speak their minds.
Where it goes after collecting the information is still a work in progress, according to Steinberg. The information might be valuable for legislators to base policy, or it might simply give a better understanding to help prioritize what the populace feels are the bigger issues in society.
At the very least, the discussions will allow for those who have felt marginalized and unable to speak their minds the chance to do just that.
For register for one of the events or to view a complete list of the locations of TogetherRI discussions, go to www.togetherRI.org.