On July 11 and 12, 2008, the first major milestone in the New Orleans Citizen Participation Program took place: a Citizen Participation Summit that brought together people from throughout the city. At the Summit, participants reviewed CPP models from around the country, including a draft model New Orleans CPP that was developed pre-Katrina, and discussed how these might be applicable to the current situation in the city. Keynote speaker Judith Mowry, from the Office of Neighborhood Participation in Portland, Oregon, spoke of the values of citizen participation and the importance of working together, through obstacles and even conflict, to achieve the goal of a powerful and inclusive citizen voice in city government.
By the conclusion of the Summit, participants had identified the key components that will be part of the process going forward to design and implement the New Orleans CPP. Action Teams were formed to work on each of these components, with Action Team meetings beginning within 3 days of the Summit. The following Action Teams were established:
1. Building on What Exists
2. Organizational Structure
3. Scope of CPP Activities
4. Inclusiveness and Outreach
6. Civic Education and Capacity Building
7. Research and Data Needs for CPP
8. Funding a Permanent CPP
9. Vision and Mission Statement
Presently, the overall structure for moving forward with this project is being defined, including a process for citizen decision-making. The Action Teams will continue their work within this structure. Future actions and timelines will be decided by the citizens who are engaged in this project. People interested in joining this effort should contact the Project Director, Khalil Shahyd, at the information on the Contact page.