Community Dialogues Across Georgia Aiming to Positively Shift Culture and Attitudes
September 30, 2019 (Atlanta, GA) – Across Georgia, Welcoming Community Dialogues (WCD) brought together people of all abilities and disabilities, races, incomes, and backgrounds together to have a positive, all-inclusive discussion about each community’s social issues, themes and culture.
The dialogues, which are part of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Real Communities Partnership (RCP) initiative, are hosted by Global Ubuntu. They provided financing, training, facilitation, and mentoring to community builders to support Welcoming Community Dialogues.
“In order to change the current culture, we need a different narrative than what we have right now,” said Sumaya Karimi, Global Ubuntu Founderand RCP Project Organizing Director. “[And] the key in these dialogues is co-existence, justice and fairness.”
Six community sites began their Welcoming Community Dialogues with six more starting the process.
In Augusta, the inclusive group focused on eliminating childhood poverty and addressing its root causes. In Athens and LaGrange, the community dialogues concentrated on empowerment for women of all abilities and people with disabilities affected by the prison system, respectively.
“The communities define what they want to accomplish, study why the issue exists, define its root cause and what needs to be done to create change,” she said. “Everyone needs to realize that [these] issues impact everybody including people withdisabilities, and people of different races and income levels."
Karimi also said that in creating Welcoming Community Dialogues, they all share seven elements: changing narratives; radical hospitality; human rights; listening, connecting and building relationships; respect and empathy; active contributors; and shared power and decision making. Her goal is to have 20 community sites created by 2020.
On October 24 2019, all 12 Welcoming Community Dialogue groups will gather to discuss their impact during the inaugural Welcoming Community Dialogues Summit in Clarkston, Georgia
About Global Ubuntu: Global Ubuntu envisions a just and peaceful world where everyone is welcomed, valued, and feels safe to thrive for their highest potential. It provides a variety oftrainings and facilitated dialogues grounded in adult education and asset-based approaches and convenes dialogues and/or conversations on issues that groups feel strongly about. Globalubuntu.net
About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the State's leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play and worship in Georgia communities. www.gcdd.org