Community collaborative to launch new “Tough Talks” series

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Several community leaders organized a series of “Tough Talks” to educate Springfield residents about difficult topics and encourage positive action.

The Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Conference will kick off Tough Talks on Thursday, Oct. 1, and lead by Dr. Lyle Foster and Dr. Leslie Anderson.

Foster is an assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University and Anderson is a professor in the counseling leadership and special education department at the same university.

Prosper Springfield director Francine Pratt says the talks were inspired by a community leadership visit to Lexington, Kentucky. Tough Talks were hosted in their community to help with the racial unrest brought on by the Michael Brown case in Ferguson back in 2014.

“I think we all realized in Kentucky that it was time to resume these types of deliberative dialogue engagement sessions,” Francine Pratt said. “I sketched out a plan on a napkin on the plane ride home to Springfield and shared it with Cora, who said let’s do it! It’s only because of COVID that we have delayed starting the tough talk forums.”

The first talk is titled ERacism: Action Toward Positive Change and will be done virtually starting at 6:30 p.m.

You can find the stream on Prosper Springfield’s website or the City of SGF Facebook page.

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