In the next issue of Arizona Attorney, we’ll run a portion of a roundtable conversation I had with some lawyer–leaders of the Arizona Town Hall.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Arizona Town Hall is a remarkable creature that fosters collaboration and aims to tackle some of the most difficult problems that face the community.

That’s why I am especially intrigued by a Town Hall event tonight. Billed as a “Forum on Civic Engagement,” it allows attendees to get a glimpse into the process that has had success for half a century (see flier below). It also lets any Arizonan weigh in with her or his own thoughts.

“Action-inspired conversation” is what’s promised, and boyoboy, is it needed. Happily, many in the state are making an effort to change the level of discourse. Last week in Tucson, the UA Law School hosted a program on “Civil Political Discourse in a Partisan Era.” The school and the National Institute for Civil Discourse joined together to examine, among other things, “emerging strategies for robust democratic engagement across ideological, political, and cultural divides.” Congratulations on launching such an effort, especially in a presidential election year.

The difficult question, of course, is whether the folks who desperately need to hear the message ever attend things like Town Hall forums. Probably not; it’s far easier to rant at your television and mutter how things are going downhill.

Congratulations to the Town Hall, on its anniversary and on tonight’s forum. If you are able to attend, enjoy offering your opinion. And perhaps just as important: Enjoy listening to your fellow Arizonans.

What: Forum on Civic Engagement

Where: Central High School, Phoenix

When: 5:00-6:15, expo and networking; 6:15-8:15, program

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