Stockbridge, MA, July 17– Norman Rockwell Museum’s Four Freedoms Forum returns with a look at “Youth, Identity, and the Media” on Thursday, July 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to share their thoughts on how contemporary media is shaping the way young people view themselves and navigate their social and cultural milieu.
Featured speakers will include Dr. Susan Birns, sociology professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; Matthew Martin, community outreach representative for Mildred Elley; and Jenn Smith, reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings, The Four Freedoms Forums are Town Hall-style gatherings where participants are invited to discuss pressing issues of the day in a supported and constructive dialogue, with commentary from noted thought leaders. Community conversation at the Four Freedoms Forums is free and open to the public.
Dr. Susan Birns is a sociology professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She has worked as a community activist concerned with a wide variety of issues related to women, children, and the poor. Dr. Birns worked for over a decade as a community organizer and policy analyst in the field of human services. She currently serves as the President of Directors of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which provides leadership and services to address domestic and sexual violence throughout Berkshire County.
Matthew Martin is the community outreach representative for Mildred Elley College, focusing on higher education opportunities for diverse students. Mr. Martin has a background in community development, marketing and sales in both the private and public sectors.
Jenn Smith is a reporter for “The Berkshire Eagle.” A former substitute teacher, she serves as the Eagle’s education and youth news reporter, covering pre-kindergarten through higher education and other youth and family initiatives. Ms. Smith also conducts journalism workshops with local grade schools and colleges, and mentors students through the Monument Mountain Regional High School student journalism program.
Upcoming Four Freedoms Forums:
•Social Media: Agent for Change or Flash in the Pan?
Thursday, November 14, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
•A Nation Divided: Getting Past the Impasse
Thursday, January 23, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
About Four Freedoms Forums:
Town Hall Meetings at the Norman Rockwell Museum
Join us to share your thoughts on the most compelling issues of our day. This series of Town Hall conversations inspired by Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings will explore aspects of our democracy and important social concerns in a rapidly changing and increasingly global world. Noted commentators will offer observations and inspire community discourse, with a reception to follow.
The tradition of Town Hall meetings has it roots in the founding of our nation where small New England communities would gather to invite citizen opinion and vote on matters of importance to the town. A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government.
The Four Freedoms Forums are free and open to the public.