This four-day series on student debt is part of the Beacon Journal’s yearlong America Today project, which is telling the stories of people and describing the issues of the Great Recession. America Today is part of a joint effort of the Beacon Journal, the University of Akron and leaders in the faith community who have launched a civility project to discuss how citizens and politicians can address issues that are polarizing the nation.
The project proposes to challenge political campaigns, community leaders and citizens to adhere to guidelines that allow constructive, frank discussion of such topics as religion, taxes, candidates and abortion in ways that agreements can be reached.
There are opportunities to be involved.
At 8:30 a.m. July 17, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is sponsoring a breakfast meeting at the Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., where the leaders of the civility project will discuss how they propose to change the way the community discusses these tough issues.
Those interested in attending should contact Lisa Stayer at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday.
In July and August, there also will be opportunities for area residents to participate in focus-group discussions that pursue these ideas:
• I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.
• Relationships and family.
• The environment.
• What’s up with the federal government?
Readers can volunteer by going to http://AmericaToday2.questionpro.com.
DecisionPoint Marketing and Research will select from the volunteers to organize diverse discussion groups and to provide confidentiality.
The sessions are sponsored by the Beacon Journal and Bliss and Taylor institutes at the University of Akron and will be moderated by Alice Rodgers, who has conducted discussions about many topics for the Beacon Journal in the past 25 years.
The America Today series is available online at www.ohio.com/special-projects/civility.