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Right to Die

Look for an editorial early next week talking about our continuing efforts to provide a forum for Mid-Columbians to exchange opinions and ideas.

These days, when the Internet is connecting everyone to a world of information, it isn’t enough to provide a once-a-day summary of important events.

For the Herald and other community-oriented newspapers to continue serving their readers, we can’t remain a static source of information. We’ll have to also be a catalyst for an interactive exchange with, and between, readers.

The Community Conversations the Herald’s opinion staff sponsors with the Benton Franklin Dispute Resolution Center is a key part of that effort.

The next conversation is on the Right to Die initiative that supporters are trying to qualify for Washington’s ballot.

The idea behind the Community Conversation series is simple — hold a public forum designed to tap into the thoughts, concerns and ideas of Mid-Columbians.

It isn’t a debate, and you don’t need a debater’s skills to participate. The format ensures all voices are heard and that everyone’s right to an opinion is respected.

The bright folks at the Benton Franklin Dispute Resolution Center adapted a facilitation technique originally designed to help resolve group disputes — a conflict between office factions or discord over neighborhood covenants, for example.

We’re starting our third year in this partnership, and experience has proved these mediated conversations are also a great way to bring strangers together to talk about the important issues that often divide us.

The goal is to bring greater understanding, and perhaps a few solutions, to some of the most contentious issues of the day. We offer participants a chance to share the results with Herald readers, and so far every group has taken us up on the offer.

Participants agree to meet for two hours on two evenings. The Community Conversation on Right to Die legislation is from 6 to 8 p.m., June 24 and 25.

If you would like to be part of the conversation, please send us your name, age, occupation, phone number and a brief statement — 25 words or less — on why you’re interested. The deadline is June 16.

The best way to reach us is via e-mail at forum@tricityherald com.