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On Sunday, October 14th, 2007, 100 residents of the City of Omaha gathered at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus to engage in a By The People: Dialogues in Democracy deliberation. The By The People project is a national-local partnership intended to foster civic dialogue about important public policy issues facing the nation. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions has led the initiative on the national level since 2002. In Nebraska, a collaborative partnership between NET Television and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center has convened By The People deliberations since 2004.
Besides Omaha, ten other communities across the nation participated in the 2007 By The People: Dialogues in Democracy initiative – Albuquerque, NM; Baton Rouge, LA; Bowling Green, OH; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; New Haven, CT; Rochester, NY; and Seattle, WA. Participating communities chose different topics of discussion for their deliberation, ranging from health care to transportation to the environment. The Omaha project partners chose immigration as the topic of discussion.