The City of Austin, Capital Metro and the Austin Independent School District today unveiled plans for the first community “Day of Dialogue” on Presidents Day, Feb. 20, to enable the public to join conversations across Austin about local issues.
Organizers believe the “Day of Dialogue” will be an appropriate way to celebrate Presidents Day ith its focus on civic life and participation. The “Day of Dialogue” is part of Conversation Corps in which trained volunteer facilitators host conversations across the community on topics relevant to the three agencies.
Conversation Corps is a partnership between the City, AISD, Capital Metro, and Leadership Austin, which is administering the program and training volunteers to become facilitators. Goals of the program include improving the ways in which the community communicates with one another and increasing the tools for the agencies to use in involving the public in public policymaking.
Facilitators (members of the Corps) will host conversations in cafes, houses of worship and other neighborhood facilities in all parts of the community. Their conversations will cover a variety of topics put forward by the City, Capital Metro, and Austin ISD, including:
- The CodeNEXT rewrite of the City’s land development laws
- Proposed changes to the City’s cemetery rules
- AISD’s Facilities Master Plan
- Capital Metro’s Connections 2025 plan
“Community engagement is a shared responsibility between government and the people we serve,” Interim Austin City Manager Elaine Hart said. “It is also central to our fundamental City values. Conversation Corps puts that principle to practice by giving our community the opportunity to be part of the solution. I encourage any civic-minded resident or business to join us.”
“Conversation Corps is a great example of how public agencies like ours can collaborate to create positive change in our community,” said Linda Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Capital Metro. “By joining forces, we hope to hear from citizens we don’t normally get to hear from. We know most people don’t have time to come to our public meetings. Day of Dialogue will bring the public meeting to them —to their neighborhood meetings, places of worship, places of employment and even their dinner tables.”
“We’re proud to be partnering with the City of Austin and Capital Metro in community conversations throughout the city,” AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said. “Our goal is to have a meaningful civic dialogue that brings people together to collaborate on topics that are important to everyone in the community. From the classroom to the roadways, we want to hear what’s important to the Austin community.”
Upcoming Conversation Corps trainings will occur 8 a.m.-noon Feb. 10-11 at Leadership Austin’s offices, 1609 Shoal Creek Blvd. Leadership Austin is also accepting invitations from employers and other organizations to visit their facilities to train their employees or members.
To join Conversation Corps visit http://ConversationCorps.org