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COMMUNITY-LED CONVERSATION SERIES TO PROMOTE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Public events will be held in Kingsport, Columbia, Paris, Memphis, and Knoxville
Humanities Tennessee and ThinkTennessee are launching a series of community conversations to address Tennessee’s consistently low voter registration and turnout. The goal of the conversations is to encourage voter turnout in advance of the 2018 midterm elections and discuss ideas to strengthen the state’s democracy.  
 
“We want to meet people who are regular voters, people who never vote, and those who vote occasionally,” said Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee. “It’s important that we be able to talk about why we vote or don’t vote, and how the news that we consume affects our voting habits.” 
 
Free public discussions will take place in Kingsport, Columbia, Paris, Memphis and Knoxville. The first event will take place Tuesday, August 28th at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. 
 
“Voter confidence – both the belief that your voice matters and trust in the system as secure and fair – is fundamental to the future of our state,” said Shanna Hughey, president of ThinkTennessee. “As a nonpartisan think tank, we’re proud of the work we do to support smart election policy, but we’re equally invested in making sure the voices of Tennesseans are heard. We all must be part of the solution.”
 
Attendees will take part in a discussion based on short readings of texts that focus on the First Amendment and the responsibilities of citizens, to be handed out at the event. There, citizens will engage in conversation about their news sources and how they affect voter participation. The evening will include refreshments. All of the events are free with no reservations required. 
 
The conversation model for the events are part of The Conversation Project, a program of Humanities Tennessee. Through this model, small groups of people are guided through a conversation around a central topic, allowing everyone to contribute, to feel heard, and to leave with insight into their own views and those of others. 
 
For more information about the series or a specific event, please contact Serenity Gerbman at serenity@humanitiestennessee.org, 615-770-0006, ext. 8012.
 
 
Event schedule: 
 
Tuesday, August 28
Kingsport Chamber of Commerce (co-sponsor)
400 Clinchfield St. #100
Kingsport, TN 37660
5:30-7:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Daryl Carter, East Tennessee State University
 
Thursday, September 6
Polk Home & Museum Presidential Hall
301 W. 7th St. 
Columbia, TN 38401
7:00-8:30 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Columbia State Community College
 
Thursday, September 13
Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce
2508 E. Wood St. 
Paris, TN 38242
12:00-1:30 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Chris Baxter, University of Tennessee-Martin 
 
Thursday, September 13 
Memphis Urban League
413 Cleveland Street
Memphis, TN 38104
6:00-7:30 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Andre Johnson, University of Memphis
 
Thursday, September 27
The Emporium Center 
100 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
6:00-7:30pm
Facilitator: Dr. Daryl Carter, East Tennessee State University