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Peoria Speaks is a new monthly community discussion program meeting on the second Thursday of each month at North Branch at 6:00 p.m., which will focus on topics of interest to Peorians. Funding for Peoria Speaks is being provided by Illinois Humanities through their Illinois Speaks program. Illinois Speaks is a small group discussion program founded in November 2015 aimed at strengthening the democratic process through community dialogues across the state of Illinois.
Discussion topics differ from month to month and across regions and are often related to current events, questions and issues arising in a community. At each of the Peoria Speaks monthly discussions, a community “expert” will provide a 10 to 15 minute overview of the topic and then the group will further discuss the topic. The first two topics are about Crime and Policing in Peoria and Human Trafficking.
On Thursday, February 8 at 6:00 p.m., the discussion will center on Human Trafficking. Human trafficking has 24.9 million victims globally who are trapped in modern day slavery. There were 202 cases of human trafficking in Illinois in 2016. What is Human Trafficking and is it happening in Peoria? Carol Merna, Executive Director at the Center for Prevention of Abuse, will explain the types and indications of human trafficking and describe some human trafficking victims’ stories After her presentation, we will discuss what participants can do about human trafficking, the second largest crime in the world.
On Thursday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m. the discussion will center on Crime and Policing in Peoria. Last fall, the Peoria Police Department, along the with University of Illinois at Chicago, conducted a survey regarding crime and policing in Peoria. The survey would be used to improve policing and develop strategies to reduce violent crime in Peoria. Kathleen Kelly, Management Analyst with the Peoria Police Department, will provide us with information about the survey and the results. After her presentation, we will discuss whether the survey results match the participants’ responses to the survey questions and make suggestions on improving police-community relations in Peoria.
“Illinois Humanities (IH) is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, IH, our partnering organization or our funders.”
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