On April 19, 2023, Rhode Island Humanities convened members of the team behind the 2022 Rhode Island Civic Health Index (RI CHI) to discuss steps that Rhode Islanders can take, together, to impact civic health in the state. The conversation began with a panel focusing on strengthening community well-being and community participation in Rhode Island, moderated by RI CHI Data Consultant and Co-author Neelam Sakaria and attended by 90 audience members. Around 40 participants then joined the panelists in optional break-out room conversations focused on panel topics (break-out rooms not recorded). The 2022 RI Civic Health Index is available at rihumanities.org/program/ri-civic-health-index/.
- Cathleen Carr, Community Partner | Executive Director, newportFILM
- Jeff Coates, Primary Contributor | Research & Evaluation Director, National Conference on Citizenship
- Wanda Hopkins, Community Partner | Native American Advisory Council (NAAC) member, Tomaquag Museum and University of Rhode Island; Narragansett Tribal Elder; Masters in English candidate, University of Rhode Island
- Nicholas V. Longo, PhD, Academic Advisor | Professor in the Department of Global Studies & Co-Director of the Dialogue, Inclusion, and Democracy (DID) Lab, Providence College
- Doug Victor, Community Partner | Chair, Elmwood and South Providence Crime Watch
- Kilah Walters-Clinton, Community Partner | Founder of Innovative Advising and Director of Race, Equity & Community Engagement for the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services
- Yinjiao Ye, PhD, Academic Advisor | Professor of Communications Studies & Director of Graduate Studies, University of Rhode Island
RI Civic Health Index Panel Discussion Questions:
- What steps can we take to address racial inequities in communities across Rhode Island?
- What tools or spaces have proven useful or accessible for starting dialogues with Rhode Islanders unlike yourself? If you have not found these tools or spaces yet, what do you feel would be most helpful?
- Think about the non-governmental civic institutions that have been most impactful in your life–for example, local heritage societies, parks, and independent corner stores. What resources would allow those institutions to impact even more Rhode Islanders? What would it require to provide those resources?
- The Civic Health Index calls for ensuring that the state’s monuments and historic sites inclusively reflect the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Rhode Islanders and all Rhode Islanders of color. What do you see as the importance and impact of more inclusive monuments and historic sites in Rhode Island?
- What will it take to achieve greater investment in local independent media? How could this transform the state’s civic landscape?
- What do you see working well in Rhode Island when it comes to government transparency on the state, city, or neighborhood levels? What needs improvement, and how could that improvement be made?