There are public meetings and then there are public meetings. This one in Austin on September 6 was convened by a politician - State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford - who said it's up to Austinites to reshape Austin. Things get done, Ford said, when the community weighs the issues and tells its elected representatives exactly what needs to be done. The next Town Meeting is September 20. It will be the first of many and the goal, if I understand it right, is a New Austin.
The meeting opened and closed with a prayer. In between were three hours of open mike, breakout sessions (on education, youth issues, homelessness, and youth violence), and a final plenary session in which the thirty participants who stayed for the full three hours shared ideas and were promised that this meeting was the first step in an ongoing process. Below are some shots of the breakout sessions.
|The Education Group Seems to be Poised in Reflection|
|Rep. Ford Connecting the Youth Group|
|The Housing Group Having a Lively Discussion|
|Intense is the word for the Gangs/Drugs Group, above and below|