If involvement is the single criterion, then the April 22 Forum was a terrific success. In fact, the fourteen attendees became so involved in the activities that the Reason Center collaboration event ran almost a half hour past the three-hour projected time!
The excellent spread of refreshments available throughout the afternoon was not the only reason people stayed on, either. To the benefit of Reason Center’s Community Committee, which had sponsored the Forum, these (self-selected) “movers and shakers” in the freethought community lived up to the label. The ambiance was convivial and the participation energetic! And because participants were not at all shy about saying what was on their mind, many ideas came to the fore!
The event provided an array of structured opportunities for participants from different Reason Center partner organizations. Early on in the afternoon program, attendees got an overview and update on Reason Center’s status, and via short presentations, they were able to learn from each other about RC’s varied partners represented. Then, an interactive exploration of the current RC website (projected to the whole group) afforded attendees a chance to offer some useful suggestions for its modification. The optional videography ( a setup in RC’s library) enabled any interested volunteer to make a short video clip about his/her group (for outreach).
The bulk of the afternoon’s collaboration centered in the several table discussions, at which everyone attending had generous opportunities for input into the “moving and shaking” of Reason Center itself.
In this phase, attendees engaged in rotations through four stations, spending about 10 to 15 minutes at each station to engage an issue posed by RC’s Community Committee. At Station 1, the issue at hand was how Reason Center could best improve its facilities and services. Station 2 asked how Reason Center might better “power up” the freethought community. Station 3 focused on shaping Reason Center’s image and influence within the broader Sacramento citizenry, while Station 4 addressed the disparity between religions’ charitable activities and RC’s secular propensity. (“How can Reason Center gain acceptance and influence with interfaith actions?”)
Large Post-its at each table were used to record the ideas flowing forth. At the close of the rotations, each table’s information was removed to the walls for viewing by all attendees. In the very last portion of the afternoon, participants spent time spotting (and dotting) their very top priorities within each of the four issue categories.
The Reason Center Community Committee is in the process of transferring the unwieldy handwritten Post-it information to a form more suitable for discussion and evaluation. After grappling with the information, the Committee anticipates doing some “moving and shaking” of its own.
Thanks go to all of the Forum participants for their interest and thoughtful involvement! We were fortunate to have someone participating from several of the local Reason Center partners: Atheists and Other Freethinkers, Freedom from Religion Foundation and Sunday Assembly Sacramento, along with the Black Humanists and Nonbelievers, Brights Action, and SacFAN Meetup groups.
Mynga Futrell, 4/25/18
Below are outreach messages from some of the participants.