A broad coalition of foundations (including Make the Road New York) today launched Talking Transition, a community engagement initiative that will give New Yorkers the opportunity to talk about the issues that matter most following the election of the new mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Talking Transition, which will be held over the next two weeks, seeks to expand the typical transition process between Election Day and Inauguration into a public discussion of policy issues and ideas that affect the everyday lives of New Yorkers. Events will be held in a centrally located tent on Canal Street and Sixth Avenue and will reach into neighborhoods in all five boroughs through mobile and digital platforms.
Talking Transition is a joint effort by Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Revson Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, New York Community Trust, New York Foundation, North Star Fund, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
“This election — and this transition — in particular are a signal moment in New York City’s fortunes. We are taking the opportunity to keep the energy and engagement alive after the voting is done,” said Christopher Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations.
“This experiment creates a forum for civic participation in our city’s governance which will elevate the best ideas and highlight the most glaring needs,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “If we are to create a Just City infused with equity and inclusion, the voices of the people must continually be heard.”
Too often the significant policy determinations made during a mayoral transition are internal, with limited or no public input until after the decision is announced. The first undertaking of its kind, Talking Transition will pull back the curtain on this process by allowing dozens of organizations and advocacy groups to organize their own programs highlighting issues and viewpoints they want adopted by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
“As a proud funder of groups organizing and engaging activists, we could not be more excited to help diverse communities across the ideological and issue spectrum put their ideas on the table as part of Talking Transition,” said Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund.
The tent will officially open on Saturday, November 9th at 9:00am and will stay open every day for the next two weeks through Saturday, November 23rd. The tent’s hours are 9:00am to 9:00pm. Trinity Church generously provided space for the tent.
Participating organizations will have the freedom to shape their own events in the tent, allowing the initiative a diversity of formats and topics. All of the events will be interactive in nature, encouraging open conversation. The programming includes:
- Can We Get Everything We Need?, an interactive conversation about the City’s budget and a participatory budgeting exercise
Presented by: Community Voices Heard and Talking Transition
- Transition Chiefs in Conversation, a roundtable of former New York City and Federal government transition chiefs
Convened by: John Podesta of the Center for American Progress
- Turning the tide for NYC’s low-wage workers, a series of teach-ins and discussions about New York’slow-wage economy
Presented by: Make the Road New York
- Understanding the Property Tax Disparity, a workshop on the ins-and-outs of property taxes and the impacts of City policies
Convened by: Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
- Meeting the health needs of ALL New Yorkers: Priorities for vulnerable populations
Presented by: The New York State Health Foundation
- From the Edge of Disaster: How activists and insiders can use the lessons of Hurricane Sandy to make the City safer, an interactive conversation on the safety of New Yorkers during emergencies
Presented by: The North Star Fund and their grantees
- Engaging New York’s Immigrant Communities Through Ethnic Media, a moderated panel and Q&A
Presented by: The Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
- Brooklyn in the House, a networking and social event
Presented by: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Community Foundation, and Brooklyn Movement Center
Through this programming, Talking Transition will challenge our newly elected officials to consider a variety of ideas and concepts as they start to put together the pieces of a new administration.
“This is a 21st century soapbox. As a community foundation, we ‘re confident that Talking Transition will help inform the new administration’s agenda by bringing seldom-heard community voice to the table and providing the best solutions for problems facing Brooklyn, as well as the entire city,” said Cecilia Clarke, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
Digital engagement will be play a key role during and after the initiative. Participants will be encouraged to tweet their ideas, questions and concerns to the unique handle, @TalkNYC2013 and to use #TalkingTransition. The initiative’s website, www.TalkingTransitionNYC.com, will be used to survey New Yorkers and subsequently display the results.
The organizers have created a digital engagement tool, designed and built by Control Group in collaboration with HR&A Advisors, Inc., that gives New Yorkers a unique ability to weigh in on crucial issues in city governance, including how good or bad City services currently are in neighborhoods, and how much better or worse they have been getting recently. At the end of the initiative, this data will be opened to all New Yorkers and presented with compelling graphics of the issues New Yorkers are talking about most.
“There are many challenges that women and families face every day. Talking Transition will provide a key opportunity to make visible their specific concerns and needs for the new Administration,” said Ana Oliveira, president and CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation.
To bring Talking Transition to all corners of the city, the initiative has entered a partnership with New York Public Library, Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library. Branches will house the digital engagement tool on their computers, and high-trafficked locations will be visited by Talking Transition street team members. On a final day of the program, Talking Transition will host a citywide town hall meeting where participants will discuss the outcomes of the program’s conversations and refine major agenda items for the next administration to consider.
In the end, Talking Transition will present the new administration’s transition team with a qualitative and quantitative synopsis of the ideas and issues that are most talked about by New Yorkers, as well as a set of concrete ideas for how the new administration can integrate meaningful public engagement as a way to improve city governance.
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