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Public Discussion NWA is an activity of Comstock Conflict Resolution Services. Public Discussion NWA is intended to broaden the pool of participants from the typical two party dispute-driven mediation model, to a facilitation of the general public’s discussion of and education on policy-type issues that matter to them.  The programs presented are moderated with the belief that talking with each other and learning together lead to collaboration – which is often defined as win/win in the world of conflict resolution.  Most forums involve presentations from panelists with expertise on the subject presented and active audience participation.

Current Conversations:

April 4, 2020: "Passionate for Justice - Ida B. Wells - A Prophet for Our Time" will be a moderated event with co-author Catherine Meeks of a book with the same title being our keynote presenter.  We will learn about the former slave-turned newspaper investigative reporter Ida B. Wells who insisted that truth be given the light of day.  Explore how members of our  community can overcome racism from Catherine and other presenters.  Music and song at beginning and end of program.  For more details, see attached FLYER



Past Conversations:

January 24, 2020: "Developmental Disabilities: Understanding Barriers to Access and Quality Supports" a moderated event with the screening of the movie "Invaluable: The Unrecognized Profession of Direct Support".  What prevents individuals with Developmental Disabilities from leading meaningful lives in their communities? Direct Support Professionals need our support. For more details, see attached FLYER.

February 17, 2018:  "Race In Arkansas - 2018 Benton County Black History Month Event" will be a moderated event of multiple panel members presenting on a wide array of topics intended to educate as to black experiences in Arkansas and our Country.  Topics will range from black power, affirmative action, athletics, massacres and statues as symbols.  Audience participation planned.  For details of time and location and speakers and their bios,  see attached FLYER

February 13, 2018: "Contempt of Court" co-author Mark Curriden will present the story of Ed Johnson, a black man, who was wrongly convicted of rape in 1906 and sentenced to death in Tennessee, but whose sentence was stayed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan.  Johnson was dragged from his cell by a mob and hanged.  This story raises issues of federalism versus states' rights that are as timely today as they were over a century ago.  Event details being finalized.

October 2017:  "The Bail Trap" was a movie screening provided at several area Public Libraries to introduce a discussion about potential reforms of our pre-trial release conditions for felony criminal court.

September 9, 2017:  Moderating "A Soldier In Our Midst: Pride for Some, Pain for Others", to engage the community in a dialogue concerning the Confederate statue in the square of the City of Bentonville.  Event co-sponsored with Compassion Fayetteville and OMNI Center for Peace Justice Ecology.  See attached FLYER.

April 15, 2017: Moderated a public forum "What If We could Save The Lives of Eight Men? Or Should the State of Arkansas Execute Them?" held at the Shewmaker Center on the NWACC Campus, with wide range of panel members, including renowned expert Michael L. Radelet, Professor, University of Colorado at Boulder. See attached FLYER


March 31, 2017: In collaboration with Inverse Performance Art Festival, brought  the Prison Story Project's "On the Row" to Bentonville performed at 21C Museum Hotel.  See flyer attached.  FLYER

February 23, 2017:  I acted as Moderator of “Race In Arkansas – Benton County Black History Month Event” with several panel presenters at the Shewmaker Center on the NWACC campus.  FLYER

December 12, 2016:  I participated in a public forum “Selecting Justices of the Arkansas Supreme – Moving To Appointment from Election" held at the University of Arkansas.  FLYER

October 18, 2016: Medical Marijuana Ballot Proposals: How to vote?   This public discussion will take place on October 18 from 1-3 p.m. at the Shewmaker Center, Peterson Auditorium, on the NWA Community College campus, Bentonville Arkansas.  The goal is to allow citizens to information which will guide them in their vote on Ballot measures 6 and 7 for the November election.  The opposition to both measures will be lead by Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Arkansas’ Surgeon General.  The lead proponent of Ballot 6 (David Couch) and Ballot 7 (Melissa Fults) will be on the panel to support their Ballot measure.  Questions will be taken from the audience.  FLYER

December 9, 2014:  Promises: Prison, Parole and Probation  took place at the  Shewmaker Center, on the NWACC Campus, Bentonville, Arkansas and was designed to allow citizens to make informed judgments about the direction they want our criminal justice system to take regarding the current debate over prison overcrowding.  Current questions being debated include whether or not to build a new prison, enhance diversion and/or to grow reentry opportunities.  Attendees heard from wide range of experts, including the Chairman of the Arkansas Pardon & Parole Board.  FLYER

October 7, 2013:  NWA’s Public Forum: Can A Mediator Help Me Settle My Dispute? which took place at the Shewmaker Center, NWACC Campus.  Attendees heard from a wide range of panelists, including trial court judges and mediators in multiple disciplines.  FLYER

October 10, 2012:  NWA’s Community Forum on Mental Health and Criminal Justice held at the auditorium of Mercy Medical Center in Rogers, Arkansas.  A wide-ranging group of panelists, from law enforcement to mental health, shared their unanimous views that the mental health needs of those awaiting trial while in county custody were severely lacking.  Out of this conference was formed the JEMI Coalition of Northwest Arkansas (Judicial Equality for Mental Illness).  FLYER

September 1, 2010:  Community Forum – Immigration held at The Chapel in the Jones Center, Springdale, Arkansas.  This forum brought together various stakeholders with widely differing views on immigration.  Participants shared their candid views and “active respect” was demonstrated by those with sharp differing views.  FLYER


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