Open dialogue

Diverse opinions, input sought for Comunidad Integrada forum

Eighty people attended a recent Comunidad Integrada forum on immigrant integration in Steamboat Springs. The organization has its fingers crossed it'll draw that many at a similar forum in Craig scheduled for Monday.

"We're going to shoot for it," director Summer Laws said. "We don't know if there is the same support (in Craig) or not. We're also competing against Ride the Rockies."

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Comunidad Integrada, a Yampa Valley organization dedicated to immigrant integration, is scheduled to host a Community Voices forum at 6 p.m. Monday at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. Highway 40. The forum is open to the public.

Information gleaned from the forum will be used to create a community integration plan for Moffat and Routt counties. The Colorado Trust is funding the integration plan at $75,000 a year for the next four years.

Diversity is the theme fueling Community Voices.

Comunidad Integrada hosted a series of World Cafe meetings, 13 in all, in Moffat and Routt counties leading up to the Community Voices forums.

Laws said the World Cafe meetings sought a wide range of opinions and input from various community members. Opinions on how best to incorporate the immigrant population came from people in such fields as human resources, health, government, faith, arts and business.

"What we were asking for were ideas on activities that would bring the two communities (immigrants and locals) together," Laws said.

"We really wanted to find out what their thoughts were," she added. "We wanted to make sure we were including a lot of people so we could get a broad representation."

The Community United Committee, which true to the diversity theme is comprised of members with wide-ranging expertise, will take suggestions, input and opinions from forums and incorporate the information into an integration plan.

The Colorado Trust will then review the plan, and must approve it, before implementation, which should begin sometime this fall, Laws said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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