Springfield’s Tough Talks series continues at 6 p.m. Oct. 22, with a second discussion aimed at race relations, “ERacism: Lived Experience in the Community.” The discussion will focus on how race and racism affect the experiences of those living and working in the community.

Partners have formed a community collaborative to bring people together to tackle the tough issues facing Springfield and turn those into opportunities for finding common ground and solutions. Partners believe that it is only by coming together, in this case in a hybrid of in-person and virtual engagements, that we can understand one another and work together to continue improving the community. About 150 people participated in the first Tough Talk on Oct. 1.

The third of three talks will take place Oct. 29 and will focus on the future of the workforce and developing a framework for all segments of the community to discuss equity in education and talent attraction/retention.  Other topics considered for future Tough Talks series include COVID-19’s impact on subgroup populations, and safe, affordable housing.

Tough Talks are facilitated by Dr. Lyle Foster and Dr. Leslie Anderson. Foster is an assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University and an active member of the greater Springfield community as a change agent and entrepreneur. Anderson is a professor in the counseling leadership and special education department at Missouri State University and owner of Catalyst Consulting. Together, the duo has enlightened thousands of Springfieldians through their Facing Racism classes and other community engagements.

The Tough Talks Collaborative is run by Community Partnership of the Ozarks and supported by partner organizations, including the City of Springfield, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, empower: abilities, Missouri Job Center, MSU Division for Diversity & Inclusion, Prosper Springfield, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, The Network for Young Professionals (a committee of the Chamber)  and United Way of the Ozarks.

For more information or to register to participate, contact Prosper Springfield at 417-888-2020 or collaboratives@cpozarks.org.