By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
UPDATE– The Friday evening event of the “Human Community Network” Symposium has been canceled due to weather. Tomorrow’s event will take place as scheduled. Thank you.
The Oklahoma City’s Human Community Network (HCN) forum will meet on April 29 and 30 to explore and develop the Oklahoma Project for Systemic Transformation.
Participants will discuss how citizens can work together to develop a robust infrastructure to make systemic change for a more peaceful, just, participatory, and sustainable Oklahoma.
The symposium will be held in Watson Lounge in the lower level of the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel on the campus of Oklahoma City University. The chapel is located on the north side of NW 23rd Street between Blackwelder and Pennsylvania Avenues. Enter at Blackwelder Avenue.
On Friday, at 6 p.m., Mark Davies, Oklahoma City University Professor and Human Community Network participant, will open the event with “An Introduction to the Oklahoma Project.”
According to Davies, the HCN working forum has grown from a small group of individuals who have met over the past three years to explore how systemic change might take place in Oklahoma.
“Our gathering of the Human Community Network will continue the work of systemic change for a more peaceful, participatory, and sustainable Oklahoma, “ said Davies. “It will be a time for creating transformative paths towards economic justice and care for the earth, civic participation, and diverse and inclusive community.”
At 7 p.m., Turtle Rock Farms owner and spiritual director Pat Hoerth will hold a World Café discussion of “What Kind of State Do We Want to Live In?
The World Café methodology is a format for hosting large group dialogue that can foster new opportunities for action.
“Many people in Oklahoma are concerned about the state of our state,” said Hoerth. “They’re concerned about education and the economy, about the environment and mass incarceration, about worker equity and voter turnout – about many aspects of life in Oklahoma. They want all to flourish; they want all to have a just and sustainable life.
“And because all aspects of our life together are connected, they want to figure out how to make changes systemically,” Hoerth added.
“The opening session of the symposium will use a specific process that gives participants the opportunity to enter into meaningful conversation, to listen and be heard, to share the wisdom and the inspiration to begin to create the Oklahoma we want to live in,” Hoerth continued.
On Saturday, April 30, the day-long event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Davis will begin with a recap from Friday’s discussion. Then a panel discussion will be held on “Creating the Infrastructure for Systemic Change in Oklahoma” (Research, Partnerships, Leadership Formation, Education).
Panel members will include David Blatt, Oklahoma Policy Institute executive director; Sundra Flansburg, former VOICE president; former State Senator Connie Johnson; and Jean Hendrickson, former Oklahoma A+ Schools Executive Director.
Oklahoma Sierra Club director Johnson Bridgewater will moderate the discussion.
At 11 a.m. a plenary session will research the topic, “Assessing Oklahoma’s Infrastructure for Systemic Change.”
Following a lunch break, at 1 p.m. a group work session will explore the issue, “Enhancing the Infrastructure for Systemic Transformation of the Economic, Civic, and Cultural Processes in Oklahoma.”
At 3 p.m., the closing plenary session will explore “Developing the Infrastructure and Transitional Models for Systemic Transformation Towards a More Just, Peaceful, Participatory, and Sustainable Oklahoma.”
The symposium is free and open to the public. Participants are asked to make their own arrangements for dinner prior to the Friday evening session and lunch on Saturday.
HCN grew out of a series of symposia on issues related to peace, poverty, and planet earth that were cosponsored by Oklahoma City University and the Institute of Cultural Affairs USA.
The main objective of the Human Community Network is to transform the images, thinking, and actions of society toward a more balanced and sustainable social process that functions for the benefit of all people and the well being of the world.
“Now we are simply expanding the conversation and participation to see what might be able to happen,” Davis said. “We hope to help other organizations network around the task of systemic change in Oklahoma.”
For more information or to register, contact Mark Davies at [email protected].