Quantcast
Header Else

News Release: Village Square’s “Faith, Food, Friday” launches fifth season of programming

NEWS RELEASE

‘FAITH, FOOD, FRIDAY’ LAUCHES NEW SEASON LINEUP WITH NEW VENUES
Local clergy join The Village Square in hosting lunch series on hot topics

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – September 14, 2015 – This Friday, September 18, a diverse group of local clergy – affectionately known as “The God Squad” – will begin its fifth year of talking about the topics your mother warned you to never discuss in polite company: politics and religion. This season, “Faith, Food, Friday” programs will be crossing thresholds, sharing food with those outside of our usual circles, and welcoming the stranger – whether we don’t know him because of color, class or politics – as a new friend. The season will include several programs focused on racial and economic divides, and will move among new locations in order to broaden accessibility and participation.

The series began in 2011 with the hope that neighbors breaking bread together could begin to heal the civic division that has so paralyzed our nation, our states and our hometowns. Four years and many meals later, everyone is still speaking to each other. People from across the community, no matter what their background, are invited to participate in these improbable conversations “for people of faith and no faith at all.”

“The God Squad” includes Dr. Bill Shiell of First Baptist Church, Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel, Pastor Darrick McGhee of Bible Based Church, Rev. Betsy Ouellette-Zierden of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, and Fr. Tim Holeda, Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. The series is hosted by local nonprofit The Village Square, dedicated to building community across the partisan divide in order to improve the quality of the civic conversation in America. Organized in Tallahassee in 2006, The Village Square is expanding nationwide with locations in Fort Lauderdale; Sacramento, CA; and Salt Lake City, UT.

The first program this season is titled “Food, Food, Food” and will be held on Friday, September 18 from noon to 1 pm at First Baptist Church (108 W. College Avenue) with lunch available beginning at 11:30. Rev. Betsy Ouellette-Zierden of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church will moderate. From the American South to the Middle East to the African plains, in all cultures, hospitality around food is a central principle of civil society. And at The Village Square, food is considered one of the most essential elements to the effort to seek reconciliation across the partisan divide.

Other topics this season include Religious Liberty; Income Disparity, Poverty, Race and Our Children; The Hidden Wound; Police and Community; Rights of Passage: Raising our Children; and An Inconvenient Truth: End of Life Issues. The April 2016 program is currently a Wild Card, with the public invited to submit topic ideas. The location and lunch menu vary for each program and are posted online.

All Faith, Food, Friday forums are free and open to the public. Lunch is available for $8 for those who RSVP by the Tuesday ahead of the program and $10 with a late reservation or at the door. All lunches are paid cash or check at the door. Guests may also bring their own lunch. For menus, more information or to reserve your seat, go online to wiki.tothevillagesquare.org/x/BwGvAQ, call 590-6646 or email fff@tothevillagesquare.org.

-30-



Leon County wins Eleven National Awards (and we helped)

As we work toward launching our 9th season at the Village Square in Tallahassee, we’re recapping this summer’s cool news (that happened while we were – uh – fishing). Here’s some of it:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2015

CONTACT:
Jon D. Brown, Director
Community and Media Relations
(850) 606-5300

Leon County Recognized as Model Local Government with Eleven National Awards

Recently, Leon County Government received eleven national awards recognizing outstanding county programs and services. In addition, one of these awards was designated “Best in Category” as the most outstanding program nationwide in its award category. The National Association of Counties (NACo) presented Achievement Awards to Leon County in categories ranging from Civic Education to Information Technology. NACo’s awards recognize how Leon County provides the most cost-effective, high-quality service to citizens.
“We are so proud to see our Leon County local services and programs recognized as national benchmarks for effectiveness and innovation,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Mary Ann Lindley.

    This year, the following Leon County Government programs and services received awards:

    9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, winning best of category in Volunteer,

    Club of Honest Citizens in the category of Civic Education and Public Information,

    Community Legislative Dialogue in the category of Civic Education and Public Information,

    Domi Station, Leon County’s Startup Business Incubator in the category of Community and Economic Development,

    Leon LEADS: ‘People Focused. Performance Driven.’ in the category of County Administration and Management,

    Penny Sales Tax Public Education Effort in the category of County Administration and Management,

    Leon County Sustainable Communities Summit in the category of County Resilience: Infrastructure, Energy & Sustainability,

    Leon County Veterans Resource Center in the category of Employment and Training for County Residents,

    Procurement Connect in the category of Financial Management,

    Trailahassee.com in the category of Information Technology, and

    Leon County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Policy in the category of Personnel Management, Employee Training and Employee Benefits.

“These national awards reflect the effort and commitment of talented and dedicated County employees who actively engage our citizens on the most important challenges and opportunities facing our community,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long.

One award that stood out recognized Leon County’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, which received highest honors as Best in Category. Through this annual program, Leon County encourages citizens to remember and honor the sacrifices of 9/11 by volunteering locally and giving back to the community. Since the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the program has consisted of a remembrance ceremony and day of service. Over the past four years, 976 volunteers have contributed over 4,400 hours of volunteer service to veterans, low-income seniors, disabled individuals and families of active-duty military personnel in the Leon County community through service projects ranging from creating “garden buckets” for growing vegetables at home to housing rehabilitation for disabled veterans.

Many of the NACo awards highlight programs, services and initiatives that have been in place for years. Such awards recognize how Leon County Government listens to citizens’ needs, anticipates challenges and engages citizens to collaboratively shape the community for future generations. One such example was the multi-year penny sales tax education effort that involved hundreds of hours of citizen input to determine infrastructure projects that County residents not only need, but want. Moreover, Leon County was nationally recognized for programs such as the Sustainable Communities Summit, Community Legislative Dialogue and the Veterans Resource Center, all of which are programs or initiatives that engage many different County departments and divisions to succeed.

These national awards recognize not only effective services, but highlight the successes of Leon County Government during the slow economic recovery. Since the Great Recession, the County has managed to reduce its budget while at the same time exceeding expectations with key infrastructure projects and citizen engagement. Leon County remains committed to strengthening what works, abandoning what does not, receiving citizen feedback, leveraging partnerships and listening to changing needs.
Founded in 1970, the annual NACo Achievement Award Program is an award series that recognizes innovative county government programs that increase services to county residents. Leon County will be recognized at NACo’s 80th Annual Conference in July in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For more information, contact Shington Lamy, Assistant to the County Administrator, at (850) 606-5300 / LamyS@LeonCountyFL.gov or Jon D. Brown, Director of Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 / cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov .



Leadership Florida: Leadership Florida honors The Village Square with the Florida Impact Award

LF logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Wendy Walker
Leadership Florida
850-521-1220 ext 103
wwalker@leadershipflorida.org

Leadership Florida® honors The Village Square
with the Florida Impact Award

Tallahassee, Fla. — On June 14, at its annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Leadership Florida presented the The Village Square Tallahassee with its 2015 Florida Impact Award, recognizing the organization’s efforts to bring together those with opposing viewpoints by using civil, respectful, fact-based discourse.

Leadership Florida established the Florida Impact Award to recognize a business or non-profit organization that has created a body of work whose impact is currently transforming the future of its region and has the potential to impact Florida as a whole. It was created to promote a heightened sense of appreciation for the possibilities available when Floridians work together as a single statewide community.

The Village Square was founded by Tallahassee leaders with differing political affiliations, but united in the belief that education and civil discourse on topics of public policy among our diverse citizenry is vitally important, particularly in a society that has become increasingly polarized. In a non-partisan fashion, The Village Square convenes discussions on matters of local, state and national importance, which create a myriad of opportunities for constructive conversations that build understanding and trust among those with disparate views.

The Village Square idea of differing perspectives leading to united goals is growing throughout the state and beyond. Already, it has “franchised” its model by establishing a Village Square in the Florida cities of St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale, as well as the out of state cities of Sacramento, Kansas City and Salt Lake City.

Leadership Florida is proud to honor The Village Square as its 2015 Florida Impact Award winner.

_____________

About Leadership Florida
For thirty-four years, Leadership Florida has developed a reputation as a builder of a stronger, diverse statewide sense of community. A respected non-partisan convener of committed individuals, Leadership Florida enhances the knowledge and leadership abilities of Florida’s leaders through educational programs and by encouraging collaborative work for the betterment of our state. Leadership Florida provides Floridians essential information and a meaningful forum for their opinions, and creates opportunities for shared experiences that are inviting, inspiring and of lasting value. Leadership Florida is a federally registered trademark.

Find Leadership Florida online at leadershipflorida.org

Village Square receives Leadership Florida award



News Release: Village Square Salt Lake City Announces Its Formation

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
May 22, 2015

Media Contact: Jacob Hess
Director
Village Square, Salt Lake City
Phone: 801.712.1346

VILLAGE SQUARE, SALT LAKE CITY ANNOUNCES ITS FORMATION
Inaugural Dinner Event, June 18th – focused on LGBT/Religious Dialogue

(SALT LAKE CITY, UT) – May 22, 2015 – Utah has recently been recognized nationally for an historic deliberation between political leaders associated with the LGBT and religious communities. Since then, some have wondered: how can the larger spirit of that event be multiplied to involve more Utah citizens in the same kind of generous, open-hearted conversations?

We are excited to announce the creation of a Salt Lake City chapter of The Village Square – a nationally known nonpartisan 501(c) 3 public educational forum dedicated to raising the quality of civic discussion on issues of local, state and national importance.

Since 2006, the Village Square has been innovating unique methods to create a “Town Hall for the 21st Century” – helping communities move beyond the polarized bickering and diatribes that often characterize these events. Senator Olympia Snow called the Village Square one of 8 national organizations to support if you’re concerned about healing the partisan divide. Village Square advisor Jonathan Haidt, professor at New York University, says the Village Square “helps open hearts, then minds by fostering the mutual recognition of everyone’s decency and sincerity.”

On Thursday, June 18th, Village Square Salt Lake City will host our inaugural event, “Reaching Across America’s Deepest Divide: Former Adversaries Tell Their Story of Coming Together to Explore Sexual Orientation-Faith Conflicts.” This dinner event, open to the public, will be held at the Salt Lake Acting Company (168 W, 500 N) – with dinner starting at 6:30 and the program beginning at 7:15. The program will be co-moderated by Jacob Hess, Director of Village Square SLC, and Jay Jacobsen, Director of Circling the Wagons.

Co-sponsored by Living Room Conversations and the Salt Lake Civil Network, this event will offer a chance to participants to ‘listen in’ to the story of members of the Reconciliation and Growth Project – a collaborative effort to deepen understanding across the LGBT/religious divide, including: Jerry Buie (Pride Counseling), Lee Beckstead & Jim Struve (The LGBTQ-Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild of Utah), Shirley Cox (Brigham Young University instructor), David Matheson (Journey into Manhood), David Pruden (Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity) and Marybeth Raynes (Crossroads Psychotherapy).

Unlike an information-based “panel discussion,” this event will prioritize relationship building and FUN – with cabaret-style tables and dessert served to punctuate the conversation. Unique mobile-phone-based methods will be used to solicit questions and prompt interaction throughout, with two civility bells held by left and right-leaning audience members.

Future events being planned in Salt Lake City include “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” and similar dinner forums exploring potential common ground on policing, climate change & religious freedom. A “Sticky Issues in Civil Society” lunch series will also begin this summer, featuring topics such as “What to Do When We Disagree on the ‘Facts’?” and “Are there Some Issues it is NOT Okay to Disagree About?” In all Village Square events, the aim will be to focus on issues of importance to Utahans about which misunderstandings exist and questions that may perhaps uniquely benefit from a creative, trans-partisan exploration.

In a time when increasing political animosities continue to be documented nationally, it is time for communities to take more proactive measures to nurture and bolster our collective capacity for productive disagreement. Like the preservation of our precious natural and environmental resources in the state, we believe this civic space in our communities also deserves careful protection – indeed, as a national heritage dating back to the colonial “village square” where a diverse people came together to explore the future of this country.

For more information or to reserve your seat, go to www.villagesquareutah.org. With limited seating, some spots are being held for journalists. With questions, contact Jacob Hess or Liz Joyner at the numbers above (between May 27 and June 5, please contact Liz).



Press Release: Tallahassee Town Hall 2.13

THE VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES ‘OUR TOWN’ FORUM SERIES
Leadership Tallahassee and Tallahassee Democrat partner in Tallahassee Town Hall

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – February 10, 2014 – If you want to participate in civic life in Tallahassee but aren’t interested in preparing a three-minute speech for a commission meeting, what options do you have? Thursday night, February 13, citizens will have a rare opportunity to talk informally with both Tallahassee City Commissioners and Leon County Commissioners.“OUR TOWN: Tallahassee Town Hall” will be moderated by the Tallahassee Democrat’s Politics and Policy Editor Paul Flemming. The program will pair commissioners from both the city and the county for a cross-governmental discussion about where Tallahassee is as a community, where we’re going, and what challenges we face in getting there. Scheduled to join the conversation are City Commissioners Andrew Gillum, Scott Maddox, Nancy Miller and Gil Ziffer; and County Commissioners John Dailey, Bryan Desloge, Kristin Dozier, Mary Ann Lindley and Nick Maddox.

The town hall program is a continuation of an ongoing series of unique local forums sponsored by The Village Square, a nonprofit formed by local leaders – from both sides of the political divide – to improve the civility and factual accuracy of the civic dialogue. The forum, co-sponsored by Leadership Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Democrat, is part of a grant funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida to foster an informed, engaged community. Programming continues on Thursday, February 27 with “Speed Date Your Local Leaders.”

The program is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 N. Monroe Street (use rear Calhoun Street entrance). It is free and open to the public, but a reservation is required. Participants are welcome to bring a take-out dinner and a drink.

Those who are unable to attend can watch the program livestream at www.Tallahassee.com or follow an online discussion on Twitter, hashtag #TDvsq.

For more information and to reserve your seat and print your ticket, go online to www.tallahassee.tothevillagesquare.org or call 850-590-6646.

-30-



Press Release: Join the Gang at FEARS

VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES “THE ASTEROIDS CLUB” SEASON
Programs examine six American “asteroids” that threaten our future

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – January 7, 2014 – Imagine there is a giant asteroid heading to earth, expected to destroy life as we know it. We’d stop the incessant partisan bickering and do everything within our power to deflect the asteroid, right? Like in the movies?

During its 2013-14 Dinner at the Square season, The Village Square examines six American “asteroids” headed directly at us – each a problem that will only grow bigger and harder to “deflect” the longer we ignore it. Stuck inside our feuding partisan tribes, we’ve failed to find common cause against common threats – preferring instead to argue in the public debate about whose asteroid is real; all while the threats continue to build.

This year’s season of programming is a joint project of The Village Square and Dr. Jonathan Haidt of NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.” The Village Square’s unique model of civic engagement continues to draw national attention, recently named by Senator Olympia Snowe as one of eight organizations in America seeking to grow political common ground (the only one hometown-based).

The second program of the season will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church downtown. “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” will take a look at the liberal “asteroid” of climate change and the conservative “asteroid” of entitlement spending – both data-supported problems that one side of the political aisle warns has put future generations at serious risk and the other side simply fails to see.

Panelists include attorney Brian Armstrong of Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson and his good friend Dr. Ed Moore, President of Independent Colleges of Florida. We’ll be posing them the question: “What if manmade climate change is real and the social welfare state is doomed?” Two experts will assist them – Dr. Randy Holcombe, the Devoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University and Susan Glickman, the Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“The Asteroids Club” season will continue through the school year with other asteroids, including money in politics and moral behavior. Last fall the series examined rising economic inequality and family breakdown.

For more information, visit www.tothevillagesquare.org, call 590-6646 or email info@tothevillagesquare.org. To learn more about the Asteroids Club project go to www.asteroidsclub.org. A limited number of scholarship tickets are available through Friday, January 10th.

-30-



News Release: Village Square Launches New Season “The Asteroids Club”

VILLAGE SQUARE LAUNCHES NEW SEASON “THE ASTEROIDS CLUB”
Programs to examine six American “asteroids” that threaten our future

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – October 8, 2013 – Imagine there is a giant asteroid heading to earth, expected to destroy life as we know it. We’d stop the incessant partisan bickering and do everything within our power to deflect the asteroid, right? Like in the movies?

During its 2013-14 Dinner at the Square season, The Village Square examines six American “asteroids” headed directly at us – each a problem that will only grow bigger and harder to “deflect” the longer we ignore it. Stuck inside our feuding partisan tribes, we’ve failed to find common cause against common threats – preferring instead to argue in the public debate about whose asteroid is real; all while the threats continue to build.

This year’s season of programming – which will also include a look at “asteroids” Florida must deal with – is a joint project of The Village Square and Dr. Jonathan Haidt of NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.” The Village Square’s unique model of civic engagement continues to draw national attention, recently named by Senator Olympia Snowe as one of eight organizations in America seeking to grow political common ground (the only one hometown-based).

The first program of the season – “American Dream Lost?” – will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church downtown. This discussion will take on the liberal “asteroid” of rising economic inequality and the conservative “asteroid” of breakdown of the family – both data-supported problems that are threatening to damage the fabric of American society. In a time of unparalleled creation of wealth, the spoils of the American dream are increasingly going to the top 1%. At the same time, the family has taken a hit – with 40% of births now occurring outside of marriage. These two trends are highly correlated and worth joint effort.

Panelists include Kay Hymowitz of New York City’s Manhattan Institute and author of “Marriage and Caste in America,” and Dr. Kathryn Tillman of the FSU Center for Demography and Population Health. Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum and Richard Albertson of Live the Life, a faith-based organization devoted to strengthening marriages and families, will also join the conversation.

In association with this program, The Village Square and the United Way of the Big Bend are partnering to host “A Virtual Experience of Life on the Edge” on Tuesday, October 22, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church. This event is a unique, interactive activity that allows people to experience the day-to-day realities of those living in poverty and provides an opportunity for us to discuss how our community can work together to address the problem. Pre-register for this free event online at www.uwbb.org.

“The Asteroids Club” season will continue through the school year with other asteroids, including entitlement spending, climate change, money in politics and moral behavior. Season tickets are available through October 15. For more information, visit www.tothevillagesquare.org, call 590-6646 or email info@tothevillagesquare.org. A limited number of scholarship tickets is available. To learn more about the Asteroids Club project go to www.asteroidsclub.org.

-30-



News Release: “FAITH, FOOD, FRIDAY” BEGINS A THIRD SEASON

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2013

“FAITH, FOOD, FRIDAY” BEGINS A THIRD SEASON
Local clergy and congregations join The Village Square in hosting lunch series

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – October 3, 2013 – On Friday October 11, a diverse group of local clergy – affectionately known as “The God Squad” – will begin a third year of talking about the topics your mother warned you to never discuss in polite company: politics and religion.

The series began in 2011 in the hope that neighbors breaking bread together could begin to heal the civic division that has so paralyzed our nation, our states and even our hometowns. Seventeen meals later, everyone is still speaking to each other.

People from all faith communities – or those not a part of any faith community – are all invited to participate in these improbable conversations.

The series is hosted by local nonprofit “The Village Square,” dedicated to building community across the partisan divide in order to improve the quality of the civic conversation in America. Organized in Tallahassee in 2006, The Village Square now has a second location in St. Petersburg and has enjoyed national attention as a unique model for civic engagement.

“The God Squad” includes Rev. Dave Killeen of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Pastor Darrick McGhee of Bible Based Church, Rev. Betsy Ouellette of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel and Dr. Bill Shiell of First Baptist Church.

For its first topic this season, “Faith, Food, Friday” takes a look at the divisive issue of immigration – now languishing in Congress – from a fresh perspective in “Strangers at the Door: A Conversation on Immigration.” Joining them will be guest panelist Mark Schlakman of the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. The program is on Friday, October 11 from noon to 1 pm at First Baptist Church (108 W. College Avenue) with lunch available beginning at 11:30. Dr. Bill Shiell of First Baptist Church will moderate.

Other topics for the year include “After the Trayvon Martin Case,” “Faith and Capitalism,” “Restorative Justice: Rethinking the Role of Forgiveness,” “When Religion Becomes Violent,” “Gender and Faith,” and “Character in America.” The location varies each program and is posted online.

All Faith, Food, Friday forums are free and open to the public. Lunch is available for $8 if you RSVP by the Tuesday ahead of the program and $10 with a late reservation or at the door – all lunches are paid cash or check at the door. You may also bring a brown bag lunch. For a menu, more information or to reserve your seat, go online to http://wiki.tothevillagesquare.org/x/e4Df, call 264-8785 or email fff@tothevillagesquare.org.

-30-



News Release: Village Square continues “Our Town” Series with “Fast Forward Tallahassee”

(Get info and register here.)

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
April 30, 2013

THE VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES ‘OUR TOWN’ SERIES
‘Fast Forward’ Forum Focuses on New Projects, Business and Ideas

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 30, 2013 – Hometowns with a “sense of place” are vibrant, engaged, growing and economically successful. They are places people want to live and raise families.

There are new reasons every day why this describes Tallahassee.

On Monday, May 6, The Village Square hosts “OUR TOWN: Fast Forward,” a spirited look at what’s new and what’s coming in Tallahassee. The program will be moderated by WFSU’s Tom Flanigan.

Co-sponsored by Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI), Leadership Tallahassee, and the Tallahassee Democrat, “Fast Forward” will be fast-paced. Six presentations follow a PechaKucha format (Japanese for “chit chat”) with a maximum of 20 slides that advance automatically after 20 seconds. There will be a question-and-answer segment, and a lightening round for the audience to share information about new projects, ideas, events and restaurants around town.

The evening will feature a presentation by Florida State University President Eric Barron on “Entrepreneurial FSU,” a discussion on what’s new on our college campuses presented by Town and Gown Project Director Mike Pate, and a look at the future of Lake Ella through the KCCI project “EllaVate.”

Also presenting are Ed Murray of NAI TALCOR on “Cutting Edge Business” in Tallahassee, Laurie Hartsfield of KCCI on “Our Creative Community,” and Joy Watkins of the Community Foundation of North Florida on “Our Nonprofit Community.” Lee Daniel of Visit Tallahassee with share the top ten reasons people will want to visit Tallahassee and Jay Revell of Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority will present on what’s new and coming downtown.

The program is part of The Village Square’s “Our Town” series, aimed at growing an informed and engaged community, and is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida.

“Our Town: Fast Forward” will be held Monday, May 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 N. Monroe Street (enter at rear Calhoun Street entrance). It is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Participants are asked to make a reservation and to present their printed ticket at the door, and are invited to bring a take-out dinner or purchase dinner at one of the food trucks parked outside St. John’s from 5:00 to 5:45 pm.

Those who are unable to attend can watch the program livestream at www.Tallahassee.com or follow an online discussion on Twitter, hashtag #TDvsq. For more information, to see a full list of program participants, or to RSVP and print your ticket, go to www.tothevillagesquare.org or call 264-8785.

-30-



PRESS RELEASE: Village Square Hosts Forum on Immigration

For Immediate Release April 17, 2013

VILLAGE SQUARE HOSTS FORUM ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
“Immigration and the American Melting Pot” examines national, state and human issues

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 17, 2013 – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio now occupies the pivotal position in whether sweeping immigration reforms soon become law. Next Tuesday evening, Rubio’s General Counsel since taking office, Len Collins, will join a headliner panel at The Village Square’s Dinner at the Square program, “Immigration and the American Melting Pot,” to discuss proposed reforms and the human and policy dimensions of the immigration crisis. Collins left the position on Friday to return to Tallahassee to practice law at the statewide law firm Broad and Cassel.

Reform of the immigration system – considered on both sides of the aisle to be profoundly broken –represents a unique opportunity for cooperation on substantial legislation at a time when hyper-partisanship has made even the most routine acts of Congress impossible.

Joining Collins on the panel is State Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) who chaired a series of 2011 immigration hearings and worked on a bill to tighten Florida’s immigration laws; Antonio Ginatta, advocacy director for the US Program at the international organization Human Rights Watch – specializing in the policy and legal issues that impact immigrants; and FSU President Emeritus and past American Bar Association president Sandy D’Alemberte.

D’Alemberte is currently representing “DREAMer” Jose Godinez-Samperio in his case before the Florida Supreme Court. High school valedictorian, Eagle Scout and FSU Law School graduate Godinez-Samperio was brought to America from Mexico at age nine by his parents; he is petitioning for the right to join the Florida Bar in order to practice law, a right currently denied him due to his undocumented immigrant status. A decision in the case is expected shortly.

“Immigration and the American Melting Pot” will be held on Tuesday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, downtown. The program is the last in the Dinner at the Square 2012-13 season titled “E Pluribus Unum,” exploring issues that unite and divide us as Americans.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go online to www.tothevillagesquare.org, call 590-6646 or email info@tothevillagesquare.org. A limited number of scholarship tickets are available.

-30-



PRESS RELEASE: The Village Square and Leadership Tallahassee host ‘Speed Date’ Town Hall

For Immediate Release April 9, 2013

THE VILLAGE SQUARE AND LEADERSHIP TALLAHASSEE HOST ‘SPEED DATE’ TOWN HALL
Citizens invited to interact with local leadership using ‘speed date’ format

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 9, 2013 – Maybe you’ve never tried it yourself, but everyone’s heard of speed dating. First offered by an Israeli rabbi to help Jewish singles find love, now there’s Christian speed dating, graduate student speed dating, even speed dating for pet adoption and – for the truly noncommittal – online speed dating.

But nothing beats civic speed dating.

At a time when interactions between citizens and their government are either increasingly hostile or practically non-existent, it’s probably past time for a little matchmaking.

Single or married, this Thursday, April 11, citizens have the unusual opportunity to “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” – enjoying pizza and chatting informally with commissioners, the police chief, superintendent of schools, editor of the newspaper, and other officials.

Leaders will rotate from table to table every 7 minutes, offering each group of participants an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas that might never have rated a phone call or public testimony, but are the grist of good citizenship and good governance nonetheless.

Co-sponsored by Leadership Tallahassee, the forum is a continuation of the ongoing OUR TOWN series of local issues forums offered by The Village Square, a nonprofit formed by local leaders to improve the civic dialogue. The project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida. The Knight Foundation supports innovative ideas to create informed and engaged communities nationwide.

The April 11 program is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 North Monroe Street. It is free and open to the public, though a reservation is required (participants will print a ticket online). Pizza and drinks will be provided at no charge.

For more information, a list of participating officials and to RSVP, go online to tothevillagesquare.org or call 264-8785. Space is limited.

-30-



Press Release: The Village Square Continues “OUR TOWN” Forum Series

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2013

THE VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES ‘OUR TOWN’ FORUM SERIES
Leadership Tallahassee and Tallahassee Democrat partner in local leadership forum

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – March 28, 2013 – If you want to participate in civic life in Tallahassee but aren’t interested in preparing a three-minute speech for a commission meeting, what options do you have? Next Thursday night, April 4, citizens will have a rare opportunity to talk informally with both Tallahassee City Commissioners and Leon County Commissioners.

“OUR TOWN: Local Leadership Forum” is a continuation of an ongoing series of unique local issues forums sponsored by The Village Square, a nonprofit formed by local leaders – from both sides of the political divide – to improve the civility and factual accuracy of civic dialogue. The series is part of a grant funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida to foster an informed, engaged community.

At a time when budgets are tight and tempers short, the traditional American town hall meeting offers an important opportunity to understand the choices we must make as a community.

Moderated by Tallahassee Democrat editor Bob Gabordi, the program will pair commissioners from both the city and the county for a cross-governmental discussion about where Tallahassee is as a community, where we’re going, and what challenges we face in getting there. The forum is co-sponsored by Leadership Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Democrat.

The program is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 N. Monroe Street (use rear Calhoun Street entrance). It is free and open to the public; a reservation is required. Participants are welcome to bring a take-out dinner and a drink. Later programs include “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” on April 11 and “Fast Forward Tallahassee” on May 6.

Those who are unable to attend can watch the program livestream at www.Tallahassee.com or follow an online discussion on Twitter, hashtag #TDvsq.

For more information (including a list of participating commissioners) and to RSVP and print your ticket, go to www.tothevillagesquare.org, or call 850-264-8785.

-30-



Press Release: Village Square hosts forum on recent controversies in women’s issues

For Immediate Release January 8, 2013

VILLAGE SQUARE HOSTS FORUM ON RECENT CONTROVERSIES IN WOMEN’S ISSUES
Conservative author Suzanne Venker joins diverse panel of women leaders

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – January 8, 2013 – During the 2012 presidential election cycle, candidates fell all over themselves to earn the women’s vote. There was talk about “The War on Women” and “binders of women,” as we jumped back headlong into a national debate about abortion rights, equal pay for women and even birth control. Nearly 100 years since women gained the right to vote and 50 since the feminist movement of the 1960s, it seems that Americans are still deeply divided on this issue.

Conservative author Suzanne Venker answered all the campaign talk about the “War on Women” with an op-ed for Fox News titled “The War on Men.” She immediately found herself swept up in a firestorm like nothing she’d experienced. She became the subject of satire on The Colbert Report and made a visit to the women of The View to explain herself. Read all »