Conversations for Our Times. This program is designed to help people learn how to talk with people with whom they disagree. It’s modelled after a National Public Radio program that’s been used with over 2,000 people since 2018. The program's goal is to help people with different opinions about a political or social issue learn how to listen to each other, try to understand why the other person feels the way they do, and see the humanity in the other. Learn More.
ID card program. According to one estimate, 11% of American citizens have no ID card, and large numbers of non-citizens lack IDs as well. Many communities are developing their own verifiable IDs for those needing them, including some immigrants, the homeless, people returning from prison, elderly who no longer drive. The experience thus far is very positive - over 12,500 people in N. Carolina have received such cards, as have people in S. Carolina, Indiana, Ohio among other states.
ID cards are needed to open a bank account and take out loans, buy certain prescription drugs, check into a hotel, apply for certain municipal and health services. These cards also give people a sense of belonging. And they can create greater trust between immigrant groups and law enforcement, and that trust improves community safety. Two local churches are sponsoring our ID card program, which launched in March, 2019.
Educational programs. We develop programs that give people information about, and insights into the lives of immigrants and refugees: the contributions they make to our community, the challenges they face when they arrive here, who is at risk for deportation, important laws, and the like. Our first program was "Dreaming America," a play performed by Charlottesville High School students. The play is based on a book of the same title, which contains poems written by teenagers from South America who are currently being held in detention in Virginia.
Welcoming Week. This annual celebration of our community's diverse residents takes place each September. It includes over 20 events that include films, health screenings, celebrations of various cultures, talks panel discussions and more. We publicize all events on our website and in other ways. We also offer some Welcoming Week events of our own.
Political advocacy. We aren't a partisan organization. That said, we are posting information on our Facebook page about important political and other matters that affect the groups we support, to educate people and encourage them to take action on pressing issues. We'll make statements as a task force when we have consensus on an issue.