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While the Jefferson City Human Relations Commission finalizes administrative items, commissioners are looking toward long-term events.

The commission on Friday approved entering a partnership with the Missouri Writing Project.

The project was founded in 1977 at the University of Missouri and is a charter member of the National Writing Project, a network of more than 200 sites throughout the country dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of writing, Heather Payne, who is part of the project’s leadership team, told commissioners. The MWP is one of five writing project sites within the state.

“We believe that writing represents far more than communication — that it also engages the mind, body and spirit in thinking, learning, discovering and connecting ideas, regardless of one’s age, ability, role, purpose or circumstance,” she said.

Payne said the Missouri Writing Project promotes improved understanding and appreciation of language learning at all levels of the elementary, secondary and higher education community and among the larger population.

“We’re not trying to come in and say this is a program from MU, and we have to do it,” she said. “We want to work with Jefferson City schools and Lincoln University.”

Commission members said the goals of the project mirror the efforts of the commission so a partnership was beneficial.

The project and commission plan to sponsor an invitation-only showing of “American Creed.” The documentary from the Public Broadcasting Service will be shown at Capitol City Cinema on East High Street. It deals with trying to determine the character of the nation and where are we headed as citizens through our social and economic backgrounds. Several community members, including members of the Jefferson City Council and Jefferson City Public Schools Board of Education, will be invited to attend the showing, scheduled for April 10.

Meanwhile, commissioners continue to finalize the commission’s bylaws and mission statement.

As part of the bylaws, they will decide the operation and makeup of the commission. One suggestion included enacting subcommittees to focus on specific work, such as education, social media and funding.

Since the Jefferson City Council revived the Human Relations Commission after the start of the fiscal year — Nov. 1 — the city does not have funds budgeted specifically for the commission and its projects.

The commission can approach city staff and the Jefferson City Budget Committee later this year about setting aside funds for future years. They also can request a supplemental appropriation if the commission needs funds this fiscal year.

Commissioners hope to vote on the final versions of the bylaws and mission statement at their next meeting April 20.

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