LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Whatever you think about immigration, guns and health care -- there's likely someone who fiercely disagrees.
But there's a local effort to try to promote a civil and meaningful exchange between those with opposing views.
It's as though bitter divisiveness is almost the norm when it comes to today's hot button issues including immigration, gun control and healthcare.
But Calcasieu democrats are starting at the grass roots level to try to get both sides talking, at least locally. Organizer Carolyn Woosley said they're calling it in search of dialogue.
"People are not in dialogue. They're in their corners tossing one liners at each other based on assumptions, not checking the facts, not asking the questions about each other much less the issues, throwing sticks and stones, the two parties, Democrat and Republican, are throwing stones at each other. The country knows it. Congress is at a 13 percent favorablity rating. Without such concourse, without such discourse, what's our future?" said Woosley.
The first topic will be immigration and Woosley explains it will provide a neutral place to learn and discuss here at stellar beans. Congressman Charles Boustany said he welcomes an effort to promote discussion among those who disagree.
"It starts with understanding what's fact and what's fiction and digging down into the issues to understand all the aspects rather than just simply taking slogans on one side or the other on the issue. It's important to be informed and have an informed discussion and the more that happens at the grass roots level in communities across the country, the better it's going to be," said Boustany.
He says the division in Congress largely reflects disagreement across the country and thus agrees local efforts can only help.
The first of the gatherings is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 at Stellar Beans in Lake Charles, when they'll begin a three part discussion on immigration.
Guns and health care will be taken up between August and October. The series schedule will follow.
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The following is a news release from Woosley:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATED MATERIAL ENDS: 7:30PM, May 2, 2013
Contact: Carolyn Woosley, 337.436.6275 or email@example.com
CALCASIEU PARISH DEMOCRATS INVITE ALL PARTIES AND INDEPENDENTS TO FREE, THREE-PART SERIES, IN SEARCH OF DIALOGUE on IMMIGRATION IN SWLA, LIVING WITH GUNS IN SWLA AND SHOPPING FOR HEALTH COVERATE IN 2014. THE FIRST EVENING IS MAY 2, 6:30-7:30PM, 319 BROAD ST., LAKE CHARLES, LA.
The Calcasieu Parish Democrats invite concerned citizens of all parties and persuasions to a free three-part series, In Search of Dialogue. The three topics to be covered once a month over a seven-month period are: I. Immigration in SWLA, May - July; II. Living with Guns in SWLA, August – October; and, III. Shopping for Health Coverage in 2014, November – December, 2013.
Immigration in SWLA begins the three-part series on Thursday, May 2 with a panel, "The Current Situation in SWLA". Panelists include: attorneys Dahlia Mathis and Beth Zilbert, both specializing in immigration law; and, Quang D. Nguyen, Senior Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Part 2 of Immigration in SWLA continues on Thursday, June 4 with a panel, "In Their Own Words" featuring the testimonies of local immigrants and immigrant families.
Immigration in SWLA concludes on Thursday, July 11 with "New Legislation & Policy". The evening will feature a panel of elected officials and/or their representatives.
Time and location for the three evenings is 6:30 – 7:30pm, Stellar Beans Coffeehouse & Edibles, 319 Broad Street, Lake Charles, La.
August – October, 2013 In Search of Dialogue continues with Living with Guns in SWLA, a second three-part series. Details TBA. Early plans under consideration include an evening exploring the divide between the urban gun culture and the rural culture of sport game hunting; gun safety training; and, an exciting skeet shooting contest and fashion show blow-out. A signature, après-skeet shoot cocktail is in the works.
In Search of Dialogue concludes Year 2013 with November and December panels and discussions exploring topic III. Shopping for Health Coverage in 2014. Details TBA.
All events are free and open to the public.