Community leaders associated with the Safe, Equitable, and Thriving (SET) Communities Task Force are calling on the public to help develop work plans that will continue the efforts of the group established to address systemic causes to complex social issues including poverty and gun violence.
On Thursday, November 16th at 5:30 p.m. the group will take over the second floor of the downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library. There will be free food, subject matter experts, and facilitators in breakout rooms to ensure that every minute of the event is being put to good use.
“We’re really hoping to attract as many different people from the community as possible,” said Dr. Mary Wilcynski, a co-chairperson of the SET Task Force. “This is why we’re offering a free meal to all who register, and even childcare. We want to mix service-providers with service-users.”
The event has been in the works for several months and will serve as the culmination of nearly two years of work, that has so far produced a report with the group's recommendations and a series of community conversations held over the summer months.
“This work belongs to the community,” said Linn County Supervisor and SET Task Force co-chairperson Stacey Walker. “It is our obligation to check-in with the community and develop concrete plans to bring these recommendations to life.”
The event is entitled Spark Up, and will be modeled after a pitch competition where the subject matter experts will “pitch” attendees to convince them to participate in their respective breakout session where work plans will be developed.
“This is a novel approach to solving big problems,” said Dale Todd, newly elected Cedar Rapids City Councilperson and Chair of the Housing Subcommittee for the SET Task Force. “We hope to have a cross section of community members who are knowledgeable and passionate about a particular issue, who are willing to exchange ideas and develop solutions to these challenges.”
The group plans to address five topics during the evening, which include: affordable housing, law enforcement and public safety, economic opportunities, education, and programming.
The event is free and open to all who register. Dinner and childcare will be provided. Individuals in need of special accommodations in order to attend should contact the Cedar Rapids Public Library.