Chancellor Anderson provided funding for registration for the DRC Director attended this leadership conference put on by Just Communities of Arkansas. The advertisement for the conference explains the purpose:
All of us are different, with different experiences, perspectives, even cultures. But we share something very important: the community in which we live, work, and play. Our diversity provides a wealth of energy, creativity, and shared resources…but only if we know how to harness it.
Existing and emerging leaders representing business, nonprofit, government, law enforcement, faith communities, healthcare, news media and education are invited to this unique and highly interactive professional development retreat. Ourtown is designed to help participants develop the ability to talk, listen, and develop greater understanding in order to more effectively work across intergroup barriers for constructive change.
The main goal of Ourtown is to make Arkansas an even better place to live and work by removing impediments to intergroup communication, and to personal and corporate success that are often based on perceived or real differences.
The two and a half day retreat is completely interactive and allows individuals to develop the skills and framework necessary to promote effective communication, positive interaction, and the prospect of coalitions for constructive change. Issues explored in depth are race, gender, sexual orientation, along with the nature of prejudice, discrimination, oppression and privilege.
Ourtown is guided by a diverse team of skilled facilitators. Activities are designed to build trust, open lines of communication, encourage a respectful interchange of ideas and experiences, understand the role and effects of discrimination, and to create common ground which reduces community conflict…and helps us get things done for the benefit of the entire community.
The chancellor sends a couple of employees to this invaluable training every year. Twenty-eight participants from across the state and from all walks of life were in attendance.