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A forum hosted by the Meridian Leadership Council Thursday included concerned citizens, elected officials, community leaders, law enforcement personnel and representatives from the faith community.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one.

The second step, we believe, is listening to those who offer solutions.

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We learned that lesson on Thursday during a community forum hosted by the Meridian Leadership Council at city hall. The forum's panel included concerned citizens, elected officials, community leaders, law enforcement personnel and representatives from the faith community.

Topics included the COVID-19 pandemic, economic development, the justice system and education.

In the two-hour session, there was no arguing, no name-calling, no Monday morning quarterbacking and no vitriol. Instead, there was a calm, respectful discussion about the issues facing our city.

Beyond addressing those issues, there were also updates on our community’s future.

This is notable because, Meridian, like most communities, has its share of difficulties – some of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Some think those issues are best addressed through social media – where it’s easy to spread rumors and lob insults at the government, the police, the schools or the media – with no real dialogue or accountability for what’s posted.

We think our community’s challenges are best dealt with through honest, open conversations like the one held Thursday evening, and not through online complaints or mudslinging.

We applaud the organizers of the forum, and encourage them to offer more opportunities for us to take a step back and listen.

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