Post Election Community Conversation Reveals Concerns

Days following the election, an online community conversation hosted and facilitated by NCDD member org The Interactivity Foundation, together with IONA Senior Services took place. During this convening,  exploratory questions about our society and the prospect for forming a more perfect union were asked. The outcome is compiled in this article as a list of concerns in various sectors: the elections and health of our democracy, polarization and the role of the media.We look forward to Interactivity Foundations’ decision to further follow this topic in 2021 as part of their #WeavingCommunity Initiative.

Below you  will find the entire resume of key points and for the original post here.


Toward a More Perfect Union? A Community Conversation about the 2020 Election

Toward a More Perfect Union? Exploring the 2020 US Elections
What did the 2020 US elections mean to you? What did they say to you about our prospects for forming a more perfect union? What lessons might we draw for reweaving our society after the elections, revitalizing our democracy, and moving toward a more perfect union?
These were the key questions we explored in a November 5, 2020 online community conversation, convened and facilitated by the Interactivity Foundation in partnership with IONA Senior Services. This was an exploratory discussion, one where participants were asked not only to bring forward their own perspectives, but also to help each other delve into divergent perspectives in a spirit of generosity. You’ll find a summary of some of the key points below. In light of the rich material we discussed, the Interactivity Foundation may move forward with this topic as a new online community conversation series in the new year (watch this space). This Community Conversation was part of the #WeavingCommunity initiativeWhat concerns rose to the surface surrounding the election and about our prospects for forming a more perfect union?

Concerns about elections and the health of our democracy

  • Voter suppression is going on in our country
  • Our electoral process is dysfunctional
  • The election process revealed how weak and fragile our democratic system is
  • The election mechanics actually worked
  • It’s a victory that there was no violence at the polls
  • Locally lots of apparent voter engagement—with lots of participation via early voting
  • It’s an illusion that our democracy is working
  • We have structural problems in our system that weaken our representative democracy
  • We always say, “it’s the most important election” or “democracy hangs in the balance,” but are those just exaggerations?
  • We have governmental leadership with no moral compass—as long as they win, they can do whatever they want—and our democracy can’t survive more of that
  • Another real threat to democracy: politicizing the federal civil service, turning government agencies to partisan purposes
  • People in government should be public servants, not pursuing their own gain

Concerns about polarization

  • We are divided more than ever, with high degrees of polarization and antipathy toward one another
  • The division has become more extreme in the last few years
  • We live in bubbles and don’t understand people outside of our bubble
  • This high degree of polarization threatens our ability to self-govern
  • We have always been polarized, so it’s not worse than before
  • We have powerful myths of a national unity that never existed and we use this to cover up our history of exploitation
  • We mostly ignore divisions because they often only impacted others (if we’re protected by our race or class, we can ignore the history of oppression of targeted groups within our country)
  • We have to remember that America was built on exploiting others
  • If you don’t live in middle class white America, you are more at risk and don’t want to reach out to those who want to keep you down, especially if you’ve been a victim of a hate crime
  • If a major political party has become a party of white nationalism, how can you ask people to come together with them or split the difference by compromise?
  • We have divisions, but most people are reasonable and just trying to get on with their lives
  • Lately it has become riskier to have political discussions across partisan divides—it used to be fun, but now you risk losing relationships if you discuss politics
  • Our divisions are so strong, it is hard to believe we can come together as one nation
  • Our divisions are so fraught, they can’t even have discussions about the election in school
  • We are a country divided on values
  • Our divisions have religious roots, part of the evangelical right taking over the Republican party
  • Religion can also be a source of values that can unite us and help us to bridge divides
  • There’s a strong political movement to disregard facts, evidence, or science, which makes governance lose touch with reality
  • You can’t come together with people who are being dishonest or hateful
  • We have urban-rural divides
  • In urban areas, people often have more experience with diversity and are more accepting of differences
  • Trump and Trumpism seem like both cause and effect—a symptom of a widespread illness in our body politic
  • Some people are behaving like spoiled children

Concerns about the role of media

  • We live in different media bubbles, so we don’t know how others see the world
  • Media shapes reality—we can’t understand the reality perceived by those in the other camp
  • One branch of media presents an “alternate reality” that is not clearly connected to ascertainable facts, which makes it difficult, or nearly impossible, to reason with its devotees
  • One political party regularly attacks the news media and other evidence-based approaches, like science
  • We need to be wary of the outsized role that social media plays in our public discourse
  • Popular media are driven by controversy and sensationalism rather than focusing on what’s essential
  • The news media focuses more on entertainment than on genuinely informing the public
  • We live in a celebrity culture, where everybody wants a chance to be a celebrity, to be popular

How might we move toward a more perfect union?

  • We need democratic reform to make policy responsive and accountable to the broad public will
  • If government responds to the public will and does good things to improve people’s lives, then polarization will lessen and people will have greater trust in government
  • The election of a new government is a start—but we need to update our constitution to bolster our democracy and make it more representative of the popular will
  • We need leadership from the top to advocate unity with our political opponents
  • We should celebrate genuine public servants—those truly acting in the public interest (not their private interests)
  • We need to restore or embody greater civility at all levels of governance and society
  • We need to find opportunities for conversation with people from the other side (it’s not important to agree, but to talk with people with whom we disagree)
  • We need to teach the value of having discussions across our divides
  • We need to learn how to listen first to each other—not to talk first, but to listen first to others
  • We need to get past labels and attend to the substance of what people are saying
  • We need to strive to find the good in what opponents say or do
  • We need to recognize the universal needs that we share: we are all equally human
  • We need to find shared values to connect across differences
  • It’s not a matter of having the right facts, it’s about finding shared values to connect better with others
  • It’s best to avoid direct confrontation on hot issues—seek conversations about values
  • We need to be honest with one another and truthful in our words and actions—we can’t just rely on happy talk and fake politeness
  • We need to recognize that people on the other side are not all the same and are not all so hostile
  • We should educate our children for a civic spirit that is bigger than our divisions, whether this starts in our families, in community organizations, or within schools
  • We should raise the next generation to be more open to diversity—including diversity of viewpoints
  • We need education to help make us antiracist
  • We need to flip the media from entertainment to education
  • We need education for media literacy
  • We should change our media diet—to expose ourselves to different sides
  • We need to reform or disband social media, because it just aggravates divisions and spreads disinformation
  • What if we come together as one—to fight fascism?
  • Time can heal us

You can find the original version on The Interactivity Foundation site at www.interactivityfoundation.org/toward-a-more-perfect-union-a-community-conversation-about-the-2020-election/.

In Class Group Discussions Effects Beyond the Classroom

This story comes to us from the Interactivity Foundation an NCDD sponsor member. In ( this piece) Discussion Groups Weaving Social Connections we follow Greg Johnson, a Computer Science major that struggles with a stuttering condition. He begins his  journey towards fulfilling the requirement of his course load while tackling on his interpersonal communication skills knowing support would keep him on track. To ensure his success,  a speech specialist from his Universities Learning Team began to work with Greg and classmates on ways to assist him in his communication but, what he and his group found was an added victory.

Read the story below and visit the original post here.


Discussion Groups Weaving Social Connections

Discussion groups can foster social bonds that are critical for student success

Greg Johnson was a Computer Science major with a problem. He had a rather severe stuttering condition. Normally this wasn’t an issue in his CS classes, but Greg was required to take a small group communication class. The class had a heavy discussion focus. Greg petitioned his advisor to substitute another communications class that didn’t require group discussions.

“Let’s see if we can make this work,” responded Greg’s advisor. “One of the complaints about IT professionals is that they don’t work well with others. But I’m going to see what our Learning Services Unit can do to help.”

When Greg met with the Learning Services Unit, they worked out a plan with the communication instructor. Greg would be assigned to a discussion group who would agree to work with him on his stuttering issue. An intern in the Learning Services Unit was a Speech Pathology major and she joined the class and was placed in Greg’s group. Throughout the semester a specialist met with Greg’s group to show them how they could help Greg. Greg also met with the specialist privately.

As the semester progressed, Greg was able to better manage the speed of talking with the help of finger signals from his group. Each of his group also practiced breathing regulation with him. The comradery of the group also helped him reduce his anxiety. The group also was very mindful not to intervene when he was struggling with a word. But perhaps the greatest benefit of all was that Greg finally had friends on campus to socialize with. Up until that semester, he was a loner who was embarrassed by his stuttering.

Discussion groups can play an important role beyond just the classroom experience. In Greg’s case, they were a support group that was helpful in reducing his stuttering. Discussion groups can also become relationship groups, building social bonds that are critical for student success and retention.

Rather than thinking of discussions as simply an academic activity, faculty should also think about how these groups can benefit students in other ways. Discussion groups can create student enrichment opportunities in ways that traditional lecture-based classes cannot.

* * *

“Stuttering is painful. In Sunday school, I’d try to read my lessons, and the children behind me were falling on the floor with laughter.” – James Earl Jones (An actor with one of the most famous voices in show business )


This post is part of our “Think About” education series. These posts are based on composites of real-world experiences, with some details changed for the sake of anonymity. New posts appear Wednesday afternoons. 

 

Join Virtual Book Club Discussion with Author of Engaged

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy, an NCDD member org invites you to an exciting discussion with the author of Engaged: A Citizen’s Perspective on the Future of Civic Life. The event will take place via Zoom on Monday, December 7,  at 4 pm Eastern, 1 pm Pacific. Register for the call here!

On the call, author and Penn State alumnus Andrew Sommers, will be available for a group Q&A session, and then participants will have the option to break out into smaller groups for further discussion. You don’t need to read the book to join the event – check out the additional resources provided in the post below to get an understanding of the book’s contents and be able to better participate in the conversation. Read more below and find the original announcement for this here.


Virtual Book Club
Engaged: A Citizen’s Perspective on the Future of Civic Life

By Andrew D. Sommers

Discussion with the author
Monday, December 7th, 4:00 pm ET

Purchase the book from Bookshop

Written by Penn State alumnus Andrew Sommers, Engaged provides a unique perspective on the state of our civic life today and why it matters to democracy. It explores key aspects of engagement through personal stories, vignette’s from the Shaw neighborhood in Washington, DC, and inspiring examples of those who are trying to make a difference. The book speaks to all Americans — veterans, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, community organizers, educators, parents, and everyday citizens — who want to make a difference in the country we all love.

Andrew has a B.A. from Penn State and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has over a decade of experience, primarily as a management consultant working with federal agencies, bringing innovation to their business and technology programs. Andrew has been an active member of numerous Washington, D.C. non-profit and civic organizations — most notably, as a board member of DC Social Innovation Project (DCSIP) and member of the Sons of the American Revolution. When he’s not playing with his son, he’s an avid soccer and chess player.

Andrew will join us for a virtual book club discussion on Monday, December 7.  The first half of the event will be a large group Q&A session, followed by optional smaller group discussions in Zoom breakout rooms.

Register for the discussion

Additional Resources

As with any book club, reading the book is not required to attend the book club discussion. Here are some additional resources to help you understand its main ideas:

You can find the original version on this on the McCourtney Institute for Democracy site at www.democracy.psu.edu/virtual-book-club/.

EP Offers Four Weeks of Post Election Healing Support

With the elections behind us, Essential Partners, an NCDD sponsor member is offering post-election support. This assistance arrives straight to your inbox in the form of one newsletter per week over the course of the next 4 weeks.  Each newsletter comes with guiding prompts and resources from the pool of experts and 30 years of experience of EP to better assists in continuing the work of healing and caretaking in all of our community circles.  Click here to sign up to the EP email newsletter list! Read below to find the upcoming themes and for the original post here.


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? EP OFFERING 4 WEEKS OF POST-ELECTION SUPPORT

The election is finally here. Years of campaigning, media coverage, social media shares, and protests have culminated in this one event.

Now we all turn to the pressing question: what happens next?

During this time of extreme polarization, fear of an uncertain future, and a general reticence to speak with people about what matters most, many dialogue organizations are bringing folks together for post-election conversations.

But we think there is a lot of work to be done—on a personal level, in our trusted circles, and in our larger networks—before our communities are healthy enough to come together again for that kind of dialogue.

Essential Partners will spend the next four weeks doing what we do best—empowering you to repair the fabric of your community, piece by piece. In one email each week over the next four weeks, we will draw on 30 years of experience to offer guidance and resources in support of this crucial work. Click here to sign up to the EP email newsletter list. Here’s what we have planned.

Week 1: Your Best Political Self

We’ll begin with ourselves, taking some much-needed time and space to reflect on what matters most to us and who we want to be.

In this first week, we’ll share a tool to help you think about the stories that inform your political values, the people who influenced you, and the places where you grew into yourself.

We want to help you become curious about who your best political self is—and how that connects to what you decide to do now that the election season is over.

Click here to download the free Week 1 resource.

Week 2: A First-Draft Conversation

Next, we’ll give you a resource to have an intentional conversation with someone who knows you best, someone you trust and feel fully yourself with.

It has been hard to escape the polarizing forces of this election cycle and easy to lose yourself in the campaign. Our resource will help you reflect deeply, with someone close to you, on how you’re doing as this election season comes to a close and on what matters most as you think about the challenges you’ll face next.

This is a first draft conversation. It might be messy. Our hope is that you will be able to worry less about speaking carefully in this first conversation because you’re already so well understood by the other person.

We want to invite you to practice talking about your values and priorities in ways that feel connecting, valuable, and important.

To be published: Tuesday, November 17

Week 3: Building Community

With three weeks of reflection, and some space from the election, try connecting with someone in your life who might feel isolated because of the outcome. This could be a family member, colleague, fellow parishioner, or an acquaintance.

That person doesn’t have to believe something different than you (although they might). They might feel like they’re the only person with their beliefs in the room, the only one who hasn’t responded in the way others have, that they aren’t welcome in conversations, or have felt excluded in the past.

You’ll be given guidance on how to help that person feel heard, fully and seriously. It’s a chance to build or re-build relationships on a foundation of trust and understanding.

To be published: Tuesday, November 24

Week 4: A Group Conversation

Finally, we want you to think of this series as culminating in group conversations. In the last week, we’ll provide tools for you to lead a group discussion that welcomes different perspectives and begins to repair your community after the divisive 2020 election.

This doesn’t have to be a formal dialogue. Maybe it’s a family conversation over a holiday dinner, part of a check-in during your weekly team meeting, or part of a classroom discussion.

To be published: Tuesday, December 1

Whatever the circumstances are, know that better conversations don’t happen overnight. It takes work and time for people to bring their best selves to a discussion across different perspectives—especially in the wake of a polarized conflict like this. But these are necessary conversations if we want to move forward together.

Click here to sign up to the EP email list if you want to receive post-election resources.

If you feel like you need help urgently, you can also reach out to us for a free consultation. We are here to help all those who do the hard work of tending to the health of their community.

You can find the original version on this on the Essential Partners’ site at https://whatisessential.org/what-happens-next-ep-offering-4-weeks-post-election-support.

Reporting on All Narratives/ Hidden Common Ground in Unprecedented Times

The growing sense of division in our country has been felt  strongly this year in conjunction with the physical separation of pandemic life and elections right around the corner. This article published on USA Today, written by David Mathews, President of Kettering Foundation, explores a narrative that is rarely reported on. USA Today networks and America Amplified, a public media collaborative, equipped with research provided by organizations including Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation want to uncover the common ground. The main findings reported demonstrate more common ground exists than we realize, and sustains the possibility of collaboration as divergent narrative for Americans and journalists alike.

To read the op ed in detail read below and for the original posting on USA Today click here.


How Americans can learn once again to solve our nation’s problems together

To solve really difficult problems, people realize that they have to work with others who may be different.

The year 2020 will go down in history as extraordinary. Americans, by most accounts, are deeply divided. They can’t even talk to those they disagree with.

Many people appear traumatized by fear. Some insist that change is long overdue. Some see the country sliding into moral chaos and want to preserve what they value in the American way of life. But there is little agreement on what needs to change or what needs to be preserved.

That’s the dominant story. But it isn’t the only one.

In covering the 2020 election, some journalists are telling another story. The group includes the USA Today Network and America Amplified, a public media collaborative. They are drawing on nonpartisan research provided by organizations including Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation, where I work.

Kettering’s research draws on nearly 40 years of results from local deliberative forums held by a nationwide network known as the National Issues Forums. Here are the main findings from our research:

►There is more common ground on policy issues than is recognized. People favor such policies as increasing economic opportunities, providing for affordable childcare and keeping jobs in the U.S. But the thing Americans agree on most is that there is too much divisiveness — even if they contribute to it sometimes.

►Citizens and government officials often talk past one another, which makes the loss of public confidence in government grow even greater. For instance, on health policy, those in government are naturally concerned about the cost to their budgets. But NIF forums show that people are most concerned about a health care system so complex it is almost impossible to navigate.

►Despite the tendency to favor the likeminded, in some circumstances people will consider opinions they don’t like. There is a space between agreement and disagreement, an arena in which people decide, “I don’t particularly like what we are considering doing about this problem, but I can live it — for now.”

This is the arena of pragmatic problem-solving. Observers of National Issues Forums have seen people move into it even on explosive issues like immigration. Described as a pivot, it changes the tone of decision making. When it happens, problem solving can move forward, even without total agreement.

This pivot occurs when issues are described in terms of what people find deeply valuable — not “values” but age-old imperatives like safety and being treated fairly. When issues are described in this way and framed with several options for solutions, with both advantages and disadvantages clearly laid out, people will confront tensions between what they prefer and consequences they may not like.

Recognizing that everyone is motivated by the same basic imperatives removes barriers to listening to others who may not be like us or even like us. Even if people disagree, they become aware of greater complexity. They explore the tradeoffs inherent in difficult decisions. That opens the door to understanding the experiences and concerns of others.

Joy of Voting Youth Video Contest Open Until October 23rd

Everyday Democracy, an NCDD member org, announced they are hosting a Joy of Voting Youth Video Challenge and submissions are being accepted until Friday, October 23rd. This contest is an opportunity for youth, ages 14-25, to submit a short video on the importance of voting, and which issues being voted on during Election Day, are the most impactful for their communities and our democracy.

Please note, that submissions are limited to residents of Connecticut or those students enrolled at a Connecticut school. Read more about the contest requirements below and find the original posting here.


Everyday Democracy Announces Joy of Voting Youth Video Challenge

The Joy of Voting Youth Video Challenge invites youth and young adults ages 14-25 to submit a video entry between October 1 through noon EST on October 23, 2020 sharing why voting is important. 

Inspired by Eric Liu’s TED Talk on the importance of voting and his Joy of Voting initiative, the Joy of Voting Youth Video Challenge is an opportunity for youth to engage in civic action through a creative medium—videography! Participants in the challenge are invited to create and submit short (1-2 minutes) videos on how voting connects with issues they care about, their communities, and our democracy. What policies or initiatives could be impacted by their vote on Election Day? 

Participants are encouraged to celebrate and promote voting with their peers! 

The 1 to 2 minute videos can include interviews, collages and public domain pictures or images, non-copyrighted music, or employ any other creative means in a video format. Some of the criteria for judging the video entries will include: technical quality and presentation, power of the message conveyed, relevance to the upcoming general election, enthusiasm, and creativity. Participants can submit videos in the 14-17 or 18-25 age categories. Participants must complete an entry form prior to submitting their videos.

A panel of independent judges will establish ranking criteria and help select the winning videos. The public, including participants of the challenge, will then be able to vote on their favorite videos from October 26 to October 30, 2020! More information about this will be made available later in October. The winners will be announced on November 2, 2020 right before the election! The top two finalist videos in each age category will receive $150 and $100 cash prizes and have their videos posted online on Everyday Democracy’s Facebook page and YouTube channel! 

Steps to Enter

  1. Create your 1-2 minute video and give it a name.
  2. Register by visiting: http://www.123formbuilder.com/form-5651380/form 
    • IMPORTANT: Only submit your application to register once you are finished with your video and are ready to submit!
  3. Upload your video here: https://filmfreeway.com/TheJoyofVotingYouthVideoChallengeCT
    • IMPORTANT: If you are under 18 years of age, you must also submit a parent consent form with your written application.
  4. Email Zoya Ali at zali@everyday-democracy.org with any questions

Guidelines 

Your submission should focus on the importance of voting. Perhaps there is a specific cause, such as environmentalism or police brutality, that you think could be impacted by voting on Election Day. That being said, we want you to have fun and use your creativity! You can shoot your film through whatever technology you have access to, whether it be your phone or a camera. Feel free to use some of these free online programs to edit, including WeVideo, TikTok, Animoto, or GoAnimate to name a few. Just be sure not to fall under the one-minute minimum or exceed the two-minute maximum. 

All video submissions must feature original non-copyrighted or public domain content. Videos must contain non-partisan content. This challenge is about the importance of voting, not the specific candidates.

Participants must be either residents of Connecticut or enrolled in a Connecticut school/college.

Where to submit your video:

Please complete your video entry form here: http://www.123formbuilder.com/form-5651380/form. At the bottom of the written application is a link that will take you to the video submission page on Film Freeway where you will send us your video. Make sure that the title of your video is the same on both the entry form and the video. If you are under 18 years of age, you must also submit a parent consent form with your written application.

To give you some ideas and get you thinking about the importance of voting, here are some relevant links to videos, readings, and tools:

You can find the original version on this on the EvDem’s site at www.everyday-democracy.org/news/everyday-democracy-announces-joy-voting-youth-video-challenge.

Emerging Technologies in Governance Program Starts 10/27

The Professional Certificate Leading Smart Communities will be hosted online this fall by our friends at NCDD member org, the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civil Leadership! The intersection of government and technology has drastically changed in the past few years, and these changes are even more drastic with the health precautions needed due to COVID-19. Learn essential skills from leaders in government technology on how to better utilize #govtech, and impact of technology in the future. Don’t miss out on this training series – program starts in less than three weeks on Tuesday, October 27th! For more details on this virtual certificate program read below and find the original announcement here.


Creating a Better Future through Emerging Technologies

Due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, we have adapted our traditional program to offer our first ever virtual Professional Certificate in Leading Smart Communities this Fall 2020 held via Zoom. This virtual offering will consist of a series of five, two-hour modules held over the course of five Tuesday afternoons from 3-5 pm (PST).

From online public participation platforms to blockchain, technology is fundamentally changing the government-resident relationship. The impact of technology is felt across all departments in municipal governments-from public safety to planning. Given the pace of change, it’s time for public policy schools to incorporate graduate-level education in the essential area of government technology (govtech).

In this fast-paced, first-of-its-kind Professional Certificate seminar, you will learn from leaders in government technology how to better use the new technology platforms of today, and gain a valuable understanding of the govtech “game changers” of the future.

  • Demonstrate your leadership through digital knowledge, skills, and expertise.
  • Differentiate yourself and showcase your advanced skills to your organization; be a champion for digital change!
  • Understand how technologies like blockchain, IoT, and AI will be impacting governments in the future.

Outcomes and Program Highlights

  • How did we get here? Understanding the past several years of dramatic changes in govtech. Social Media Strategy: How can we use online tools and social media to better engage our residents?
  • Understanding Gamechangers: Blockchain, IoT, AI, and more!
  • Running Data Analytics for Government: Getting control of “too much information”
  • Cyber Security for Government: Protecting your data from attack
  • Technethics: Learn how to think about new technologies through the lens of potential questions of ethics.

Session Dates

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2020
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Speakers

Kamran Bakhtiari

You can find the original version on this on the Davenport Institute site at www.publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/davenport-institute/training/professional-certificate-in-leading-smart-communities.htm.

Join Today’s Discussion with Authors of Beyond Civility: The Competing Obligations of Citizenship

ICYMI –  The McCourtney Institute for Democracy  an NCDD member org, is hosting their next virtual book club event TODAY, featuring the book, Beyond Civility: The Competing Obligations of Citizenship. Come share a discussion with the authors, William Keith and Robert Danisch, on civility in democracy and public discourse. You can purchase the book through Penn State University Press, and receive a 30% discount when you use the promo code “NR20”! The event is via zoom at 4pm Eastern, 1pm Pacific; reading of the book is not required to join. Learn more about this virtual event below and register ASAP on the McCourtney Institute site here.


Virtual Book Club

Beyond Civility: The Competing Obligations of Citizenship

By William Keith and Robert Danisch

Discussion with the authors
Monday, October 5, 4:00 p.m. ET

Purchase the book through the Penn State University Press.
Use discount code NR20 to receive 30% off

From the pundits to the polls, nearly everyone seems to agree that US politics have rarely been more fractious, and calls for a return to “civil discourse” abound. Yet it is also true that the requirements of polite discourse effectively silence those who are not in power, gaming the system against the disenfranchised. What, then, should a democracy do?

In this book, William Keith and Robert Danisch make a case for understanding civility in a different light. Distinguishing it from politeness, they claim that civil argument must be redirected from the goal of political comity to that of building and maintaining relationships of minimal respect in the public sphere.

This virtual book club event will be hosted in partnership with the Penn State University Libraries and the Penn State University Press. The first half will be a Q&A session with the authors, followed by smaller group discussions in Zoom breakout rooms. Reading the book is not required to attend — we welcome anyone who wants to explore the topic of civility in democracy and public discourse.

Registration

Please complete this form to RSVP. Registrants will receive a Zoom link prior to the event.

Reflection Questions

Here are a few questions to guide your reading:

  • What obligations do we have to others in a democracy?
  • When might incivility be justified?
  • How and why might civility be able to generate social and political change?
  • Why be civil to racists or others that we might disagree with or who might hold beliefs that we find abhorrent or wrong?
  • Can civility improve democratic decision-making? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • What’s the difference, in terms of communication practices, between being polite and being civil?
  • How might civility impact the process of making meaning in diverse societies?

Beyond Civility Braver Angels discussion

The authors recently participated in a public forum on civility with Braver Angels, a group that unites Americans across the political spectrum with the goal of depolarizing America. Watch the video here:

You can find the original version on this on the McCourtney Institute for Democracy site at www.democracy.psu.edu/virtual-book-club.

Registration Open for UNCG’s 2020 Virtual Conference

The NCDD network has been invited to join the University Network for Collaborative Governance‘s Virtual Conference this year and have the opportunity of sharing collaborative discourse on the future of our communities!  The event will span three Fridays in October – the 26th and 23rd, and November 13th. This conference is great for those connected to a college or university, and interested in the tenets and implementation of collaborative governance. Make sure you register here by October 8th. Read below to learn more about the conference and find the original announcement here.

One last plug for today’s NCDD Online Engagement Showcase – you can still join this free event happening at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, highlighting the many civic tech tools available for virtual engagement! Register ASAP here.


Reimaginings: What world do we want and how can collaborative governance help us get there?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be holding 6 virtual conference sessions in 2020.

As UNCG gathers virtually together in 2020, we have the opportunity – as individuals and institutions – to reimagine our communities post-COVID19 and amid mass callings for racial justice. This reimagining can also include climate change, environmental justice, healthcare equities and revitalizing our democracy. This year, our annual conference will be held over the span of three days (2 sessions each day), giving us the chance to gather as a network and share, reflect and learn. During this time, we will be asking ourselves what is the role collaborative governance and its practices can and should play in supporting our communities addressing the challenges and issues raised throughout 2020?

The UNCG Conference is open to all people interested in collaborative governance and connected to a college or university. UNCG has student and working professional memberships.

Thematic Questions

  • In a period where we need to be careful about coming together in person, and yet the need for collaborative discourse is more needed than ever, what are ways we can create a sense of community and belonging through our work?
  • Post-Covid19, how can our centers / universities support communities in imagining and creating a better world?
  • What do emerging anti-racist practices and policies mean on individual and institutional levels for the field of collaborative governance?
  • What can we learn from each other about the lenses and approaches we are applying to ourselves, our work, and our organizations/institutions? How are we reaching out to others to listen, learn and grow? As we recognize and acknowledge, how do we move forward?
  • How are our various practices and the roles we play most useful or valuable in this time to deal with these issues?
  • How do we challenge ourselves to be more useful and relevant in helping our communities address these issues and create shared solutions?
  • What role can UNCG play to help our members do their work, listen, grow and learn?

Agenda Overview

Friday October 16th

  • 12noon EST – 3pm EST (Opening Session / Panels in response to questions, breakouts following)
  • 4pm EST – 6pm EST (Network Get Together – catch up with each other)

Friday October 23rd

  • 12noon EST – 3pm EST (Lightning Talks / Case S
    tories followed by discussion)
  • 4pm EST – 6pm EST (Business meeting and Committee Sessions – Research / Scholarship, Teaching / Training, Practice / Engagement)

Friday November 13th

  • 12noon EST – 3pm EST – Open Space on Aspirational UNCG work for 2020
  • 4pm EST – 6pm EST Closing Discussions: Reflections on 2020 election and what it means for our field

For more information about the meeting, visit the annual conference webpage.
To pay your annual dues, click here.

You can find the original version on this on the UNCG site at www.kitchentable.org/annual-conference.

Applications for Libby Kingseed Memorial Award Due 9/30

We want to take a moment to recognize exceptional individuals in our field by extending this invitation from NCDD member org, National Issues Forums Institute, to submit your applications for the Elizabeth “Libby” Kingseed Teaching with Deliberation Memorial Award Libby’s commitment to civic education and deliberation continue to be an inspiration; and it is in this spirit that NIFI has created this award to grant $500 to any K-12 teacher working to implement deliberation or deliberative pedagogy in the classroom.

Applications will be accepted until next Wednesday, September 30th; so make sure you apply ASAP! Learn more about Libby Kingseed and the award in the post below, and find the original post here.


Elizabeth “Libby” Kingseed Teaching with Deliberation Memorial Award

The National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) is now accepting applications for the Elizabeth “Libby” Kingseed Teaching with Deliberation Memorial Award at this time. A fund established to commemorate and in memory of Libby Kingseed.

Application Process

  • September 30, 2020: Deadline for applications
  • November 2, 2020: Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision
  • Grant Period: December 1, 2020 – November 30, 2021

This grant is not open to organizations. The $500 annual award will be granted to an individual.

Click here to complete the online application form. If you have questions, please contact Darla Minnich at dminnich[at]nifi[dot]org.

About the Grant

The Elizabeth “Libby” Kingseed Teaching with Deliberation Memorial Award recognizes the commitment that she had to civic education, especially her support of teacher networking, experimentation, and reflection on the use of deliberation in the classroom. We anticipate presenting up to three awards to eligible K-12 educators engaged in deliberative practices.

This $500 award is open to any K-12 teacher who is inspired to implement deliberation or deliberative pedagogy in the classroom and who is new to using the practices. The teacher should have a demonstrated commitment to fostering the civic development of students, though it is not necessary that they be a civics or social studies teacher. All K-12 teachers are encouraged to apply.

In addition to completing an application, candidates will be asked to provide:

  • A plan for how deliberation will be used to support student learning, including the resources that will be needed and a draft unit plan.
  • An identified mentor OR evidence of completion of a course or workshop focused on deliberation or deliberative pedagogy
  • Prior to the end of the grant period, awardees will be required to submit a two-page written reflection on what they did and what they learned.

Libby Kingseed was a program officer, and archivist at the Kettering Foundation. Libby was a passionate leader of the foundation’s K-12 civic education research. She worked closely with teachers using National Issues Forums in the classroom. Libby recognized the need for civic education to be included in the education of children in order to help them understand how to be active, engaged citizens in the future.

You can find the original version on this on the NIFI site at https://www.nifi.org/en/elizabeth-“libby”-kingseed-teaching-deliberation-memorial-award.