For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253


Rochester, New York (July 10, 2007) – By the People (BTP), a special initiative organized by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, will host a national conversation called Dialogues in Democracy: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in October 2007. With support from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, BTP has selected 12 cities, including Rochester, to participate in the conversation. WXXI Public Broadcasting and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will host the local BTP conversation on Saturday, October 20, 2007. One hundred citizens will convene on the RIT campus for small group discussions and polling about healthcare cost, access, and quality. These will be followed by an expert panel presentation moderated by retired RIT President Dr. Albert Simone.

Public television stations and community organizations will host similar BTP Citizen Deliberations across the country on or about the same date. These will focus on specific issues on the local agenda: healthcare, education, immigration, housing, and the role of government are but a few examples, with participants exploring how these issues connect with the responsibilities and rights of citizenship that are the cornerstone of American democracy—important questions which were at the heart of the 18th Century deliberations in Williamsburg that shaped the nation. Civic and educational outreach will accompany each community’s deliberations.

These activities will culminate in the convening of emerging 21st Century leaders and thinkers in Colonial Williamsburg’s House of Burgesses, and a national PBS broadcast anchored by Jim Lehrer to air in January 2008.

Dialogues in Democracy is a joint project of BTP (MacNeil/Lehrer Productions) and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Support for WXXI Public Broadcasting’s local Dialogues in Democracy project is provided by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, and by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. BTP is nonpartisan and doesn’t support any particular policy, position, or viewpoint. Its sole purpose is to encourage informed dialogue.

For information updates about the local project visit:


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