FoxNews and MSNBC – This is where many get their news; not where we solve regional problems.

We solve problems through trusted relationships. When we can rise above our personal biases and work with our neighbor to confront challenges, preferably over a meal, we see firsthand the power of this approach as a means to address tough regional issues.

The Village Square Sacramento creates a friendly space to build relationships across “divides” in opinion and broaden the thinking on tough and complex topics. We do it through a series of engaging, inclusive and fun community forums where we break bread together and model constructive dialogue on matters of local, state and national importance. Building on the success of the national Village Square, we embrace difference of opinion as a tool in finding solutions. The Village Square doesn’t necessarily seek solutions; rather it catalyzes the relationships that can seek solutions.

The most recent Village Square events focused on safety. (Click here to listen to a 5-minute audio clip from the last Dinner at the Square.) We heard from a range of community members whose concerns included sexual assault, financial crimes, road rage, cyber bullying, gang shootings and sex trafficking.

The statistics tell us that violent crime is trending down, yet we talked a lot about fear: Fear of random crimes; racial profiling; concern that strangers will be too fearful to offer help to us, or our children, when in a vulnerable situation; and that when we offer our children a little freedom to make mistakes, our neighbors may think we are neglectful and call child protective services. Participants discussed how they want to move beyond an “us vs. them” mentality and moved toward an improved quality of life. We need to view law enforcement, the homeless and neighbors as all part of one community.

Next up: Homeless. A serious conversation about a serious problem.

Who should care for our homeless neighbors? The government? Nonprofits and churches? Or is it the personal responsibility of the individual experiencing homelessness? Join us on April 30th to learn more about this topic. We’ll hear from leaders in our community working to eradicate homelessness, and from those who have experienced not having a place to call home.

Click here for tickets and more information.