Picture people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds piling into a room for a two-hour discussion focused on concern for the North Fork’s Hispanic population. Now imagine some of those people holding different political affiliations, but keeping the conversation civil and respectful.
In the Facebook era, it’s a scenario that seems nearly impossible to envision. But it happened this week, right here in Greenport.
The Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force should be applauded for what it managed to pull off Monday. Its Synergy Greenport meeting, which certainly benefited from engagement inspired by President Trump’s executive order on immigration, is exactly the type of community gathering that needs to take place in 2017.
The event proved that when people meet face-to-face for an organized discussion of community concerns and political issues, the discourse improves dramatically over the type of online exchanges we’ve all grown accustomed to.
The Anti-Bias Task Force, which was founded about 20 years ago, operates under the following mission statement: “To promote diversity, unity and understanding within Southold Town. It is their mission to organize educational and group activities as well as legal and legislative efforts to eliminate all forms of bias and prejudice.”
What better way to do that than to gather people from all backgrounds in a room with the elected officials who represent them for an open, honest discussion?
Photo caption: Oscar Cruz of Greenport addresses town officials at Monday night’s Synergy Greenport event. (Credit: Krysten Massa)