(OK, maybe it sounds a bit too familiar and informal, but you’ve got to love the alliteration.)
Texas Forums will be part of an aggregated PBS web site of blog feeds from top bloggers attending the “ALL AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL FORUMS ON PBS” and credentialed by the Media Bloggers Association. PBS has set aside a limited number of media credentials for bloggers to cover the event in person. So far, we are the only off-site bloggers who will not attend the event in D.C. that MBA has added to the aggregated site!
We are in very heady company indeed. Just see for yourselves…
In fact, we may be in over our heads.
Then again, we have a unique role to fill.
We are not experienced bloggers.
We are brave souls who will report on the public, in-person discussions taking place at the LBJ Presidential Library and the Carver Library. A handful of dedicated Texas Forums volunteers will do their best to capture the concerns of fellow community members as they discuss some of the key issues raised in Covenant with Black America. After a one-hour discussion moderated by John Hanson, producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series IN BLACK AMERICA, we will watch the “ALL AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL FORUMS ON PBS” hosted by Tavis Smiley. And our bloggers will continue to capture the reactions of our participants to the democrat presidential candidates.
- Will the candidates talk about the issues in the same manner as citizens during their pre-forum discussion?
- Will the candidates authentically engage with the issues and will their ideas for solving these complex issues resonate with our participants?
This is not about determining who wins the debate. In fact, I’m struck at how the word “debate” is avoided by the folks at PBS. (Despite our emphasis on deliberation over debate for solving public problems, I’ve mistakenly used “debate” several times in describing this event. Conditioning, I suppose.)
Instead I think these forums provide us with an opportunity to learn how issues affect others in our community. We can then develop our criteria for selecting leaders who understand the issues and the implications of various policy options. The field of candidates on either side is quite large right now. Just as we are modeling with our agenda, let’s first take this time to listen to each other, then listen to the candidates to see if they understand the problems the way they were described by the person across the table from us.
That is the agenda for the ALL AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL FORUMS ON PBS “Watch Parties” being held at the LBJ Library and Carver Library. But this is an experiment for us.
Fortunately, we are joined by an amazing array of partners!
The Planning Partners for our events in Austin are:
- Austin Public Library Carver Branch
- George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center
- Austin Area Urban League
- World Preparatory
- University of Texas Center for African and African-American Studies
- ProArts Collective
- Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies
So wish us well and stayed tuned…