Job Opportunity: SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

The NCDD community is a vibrant group of individuals dedicated to improving dialogue & deliberation, and is an excellent network to hear about the latest job opportunities and/or find your next fantastic employee!

Which is why were we thrilled to receive the job post below, submitted to the NCDD blog by Brenda Tang of SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – an NCDD member. They are seeking a full-time Manager, Knowledge and Practice, to work in their Vancouver office. Applications are due Monday, August 6th – so make sure you apply by then!

If you’re looking to hear about the jobs we find ASAP, make sure you sign up here for our Making-A-Living listserv where we post opportunities as we find them. To note, access to the Making-A-Living listserv is part of being an NCDD member, so make sure you join/renew your NCDD membership here to receive this great benefit! Finally, if your organization is hiring, send the details directly to the Making-A-Living listserv or to keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org.


Job Opportunity: Manager, Knowledge and Practice at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

As our future ambassador for Knowledge and Practice, you have both the analytical chops to identify and spread best practices for dialogue and engagement, as well as the street smarts to lead real-world projects for government clients. You will be a key contributor in articulating the Centre’s methods for citizen engagement, collaborative decision-making and dialogue. Through working with government, engagement practitioners, and stakeholders, you will play a pivotal role in strengthening the democratic process, decreasing polarization and creating positive and enduring social change. You will also have the opportunity to develop professional programs and the internal knowledge base within staff and its programs.

SFU is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, although Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority.

Application deadline: August 6, 2018

Full job description and application information: https://trr.tbe.taleo.net/trr01/ats/careers/v2/viewRequisition?org=SIMOFRAS&cws=37&rid=308

Please share with this announcement with your networks and best of luck to all applicants!

NCDD Member Discount Available on weDialogue Events!

We are excited to share that NCDD member Amy Lenzo is offering dues-paying NCDD members a 20% registration discount on their upcoming webinars! They are offering The Art of Online Hosting for four Wednesdays starting August 8th and running until August 29th. On August 14th, there is a free Community World Cafe webinar happening that all are welcome to join. Looking to strengthen your skills around tech hosting? Join the Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting course, a companion series to The Art of Online Hosting, starting August 30th and going every Thursday until October 18th.

If you are not an NCDD member or if your dues have lapsed, now is a great time to [re]join NCDD as an official member to receive this great discount and learn more benefits of NCDD membership! We encourage you to read more in the post below and find the original information on weDialogue’s site here.


The Art of Online Hosting

The Art of Online Hosting is designed for those who are called to gather people together across geographic boundaries and host online courses and events that are everything we know they can be – real, engaging, truly interactive & deeply connected.

Four Wednesdays – August 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th
10am – 12pm Pacific Time (ONLINE)

The course, experienced in a series of four two-hour online sessions, is both visionary and practical. Visionary in that it awakens new possibilities for how to “be” together in the digital realm, and practical in terms of sharing specific tools and practices that underpin successful online engagements.

We’ll focus on the basics and some of the deeper levels of hosting in the digital realm, using a variety of participatory formats as our entryways – not simply as methods, but as fundamental patterns of engagement.

We will become familiar with the technology of online interaction and together explore how to be fully present and connected – to the collective wisdom in our groups & to the innate wisdom of the earth – as the stance from which we host.

Join us and open the door to a better way to be together online.

Hosted by Amy Lenzo and FireHawk Hulin

For more information – click here
REGISTER HERE

August Community World Cafe

These Cafes are for everyone – whether you have just joined our global community of practice or you’ve been here for years. We’ve found there is something wonderful about connecting with other World Cafe practitioners from all over the world. 

No matter where you live on this beautiful planet, your voice is welcome and needed as we create hospitable space together online.

The idea came from a series of Community Cafes we hosted in September 2016 to find out what is needed to support our extended shared community of practice.
For details, please see the Harvest Report
 
These World Cafe Community Cafes are free of charge & produced entirely on a volunteer basis. AND we warmly invite your contributions.

Please contact us to volunteer your time and expertise, and/or make a financial contribution (everything is helpful) via your registration form or the contributions page on the World Cafe website. 

This is a time in which many of us feel deep divisions in the world. Listening deeply to and with each other is one of these key things that helps us hold the challenges we face together. Join us for this month’s Community Cafe! 

REGISTER HERE

Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting

Announcing the long-awaited companion course to The Art of Online Hosting…

Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting is all about partnering. It’s about being in relationship – with your technology, with the needs of the program design and the hosting team, and with the deeper patterns that support Life (and extraordinary online experiences).

Eight Thursdays – Aug 30th, Sept 6th, Sept 13th & Sept 20th, Sept 27th, Oct 4th, Oct 11th, & Oct 18th
10am – 12pm Pacific Time (ONLINE)

The course is primarily for those who want to focus their attention and skills on the technology of online hosting, working in partnership with an online host. But it’s also for online hosts who want to understand what’s “under the hood” for themselves, at an advanced level of proficiency, whether or not they are working with a tech host.

Completing this course will give you a solid grounding in the art and craft of Tech Hosting & the deeper awareness that will allow you to step confidently into in this exciting new field, knowing you are well prepared.

Hosted by Amy Lenzo and FireHawk Hulin

For more information – click here
REGISTER HERE

For all these events, use the promotional code “GIFT” (all caps) to receive the 20% discount.

You can find the original version of this on the weDialogue site at www.wedialogue.com/events/.

NCL Webinar on How Libraries Serve Vulnerable People, 8/7

As part of their Promising Practices Webinars, a series dedicated to lifting up creative civic engagement projects around the country, NCDD member – the National Civic League is hosting their next one on August 7th! This free webinar will focus on how public libraries are being utilized in DC and Denver to better serve vulnerable people. NCDD knows the possibilities that libraries hold as drivers of civic engagement in their communities, which is why we are in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), and wanted to lift up this webinar as another important example of how libraries are vital to our society. We encourage you to read more about the webinar in the post below and register on NCL’s Eventbrite site here.


AAC Promising Practices Webinar: Public Libraries Lending Social Work Resources to Vulnerable People

Join the National Civic League to learn about how libraries are serving vulnerable people.

Tuesday August 7th at 9:30 am PST / 10:30 am MST / 11:30 am CST /12:30 pm EST

Public libraries see some of the community’s most pressing problems up close. In this webinar, learn how libraries are assisting people with recovery needs and homelessness. In Denver, a community resource team helps people connect with resources to help them reach their goals. In Washington, D.C., the public library engages customers without homes and facilitates access to social services, medical care, and housing. Learn how these libraries have leveraged community partnerships, trained staff, developed programs and even engaged customers.

About the presenters:

Jean Badalamenti, a licensed social worker with more than 25 years of experience, became the D.C. Public Library’s first health and human services coordinator in 2014. A graduate of Howard University’s master’s in social work program in the late 1980s, she has been living and working in Washington, D.C. ever since, advocating for people without homes or jobs, as well as those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. At the Library, Jean spends roughly half her time focused on customers without homes – including how to manage their needs during the MLK library’s upcoming renovation. In addition, Jean has also coordinated efforts to open a library branch at the D.C. jail, which the City Council recently funded.

Elissa Hardy, LCSW is the Community Resource Manager at the Denver Public Library. This department consists of three other social workers and four peer navigators. Her role also includes providing training for library staff in the areas of trauma-informed services, homelessness, mental health, resiliency, and more. The Community Resource team connects with Denver’s citizens utilizing the library who are experiencing life challenges. The team works to support and build relationships with people and assist them in navigating community resources to achieve their goals and improve quality of life. Elissa also teaches courses on Policy, Mental Health, Substance Use, Trauma and Recovery, and Power, Privilege and Oppression at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.

To Join by Computer:

Sign on to the National Civic League’s Webex Meeting Room: https://nationalcivicleague.my.webex.com/meet/ncl 
Access code: 622 739 287

To Join by Phone:

+1-510-338-9438 USA Toll
Access code: 622 739 287

Have questions about AAC Promising Practices Webinar: Public Libraries Lending Social Work Resources to Vulnerable People? Contact National Civic League

All-America City Promising Practices Series
National Civic League is hosting a series of “AAC Promising Practices” webinars to share innovative and impactful AAC projects nationwide. This series will also highlight successful projects around the country with speakers from cities implementing creative strategies for civic engagement. By equipping individuals, institutions, and local governmental bodies through this series with ideas, models and insights that can be adopted/adapted to individual communities NCL hopes to accelerate the pace of change in communities across the country.

All-America City Award

2019 All-America City Application

The All-America City Experience

The All-America City Promising Practices webinars are made possible with support from Southwest Airlines, the official airline of the All-America City Awards.

You can find the original version of this on National Civic League’s site at www.nationalcivicleague.org/resource-center/promising-practices/.

Local Civic Challenge #4: Telling Your Community’s Story

In the final installment of the Local Civic Challenge from by NCDD member, The Jefferson Center, they recommend folks get involved in telling the story of your local community. Last month, the Local Civic Challenge offered a mini-challenge every week to encourage folks to be more civically engaged in your community and local democratic efforts. This fourth edition advises to get to know your neighbors and listen to their stories, as well as, participate in your local newsgathering and share the story of your community. You can read the post below and find the original on the JC site here.


Local Civic Challenge #4: Telling the Story of Your Community

Supporting local storytelling strengthens our relationships and preserves the history of our communities. When we listen to the experiences of our neighbors, we can better understand one another, which makes it easier to work through projects and issues together.

Think about your role in your local news ecosystem–are you subscribed to the local paper? Do you know what the current headlines are? Can you identify a few stories that aren’t being covered, but should be? According to a 2015 Pew survey, Americans are great at sharing news, but we don’t often get involved in actual newsgathering ourselves.

For this week’s civic challenge, we’ve found a few ways you can start collecting stories and amplifying diverse voices in your neighborhood:

1. Meet with people

Find events like garage sales, movies in the park, and clothing swaps where you can sit (or stand) across from someone and get to know them. If these don’t exist already, create your own community gatherings! Share online, and post to community bulletin boards in places like the grocery store and community center.

2. Submit an op-ed or write a blog post

Take stock of the local papers and blogs in your community to see where you could submit a story. Here are a few tips on how to start writing for your community paper.

3. Use technology

Apps and social media pages that connect neighborhoods are becoming more common, such as:

Nextdoor is a “private social network” for your community. While some people use the app to report a break-in or a lost dog, you can also post about upcoming cookouts or garage sales.

Ioby helps kickstart community projects, through crowd-funding, social networks, volunteers, and advocacy. You can find out what projects are happening near you, and if it’s a cause you can get behind, help spread the word.

Patch is a customizable “hyperlocal” news feed with real-time alerts, local articles, and easy social sharing.

Neighborhood Facebook groups are another way to share photos, events, news, and concerns with people who live close to you.

Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: by following the hashtag and location of your city on these apps, you can see what people are posting about locally.

4. Host a listening booth

Setting up a listening booth is easy: find a spot with some foot traffic, set up a table and two chairs, and make a sign that says “Let’s Chat!” Giving people your undivided attention, instead of focusing on when it’s your turn to talk, will likely open up an incredible conversation about their life experiences.

5. Launch a community history project

Using all the techniques above, you can record stories with tools like the StoryCorps app, which give people a chance to easily record meaningful conversations that are then archived at the Library of Congress. On their website, you’ll find guides to asking questions, resources you need to record, how to prepare for a storyteller interview, and more.

If you like taking photos, you could pair your story collecting with a photo series, like Humans of New York.

This marks the end of the Local Civic Challenge! Do you have other ideas that will help people get engaged with their communities? Let us know below.

You can find the original version of this article on The Jefferson Center site at www.jefferson-center.org/telling-story-your-community/.

NCDD2018 Pre-Conference Sessions Announced for Nov 1!

We are excited to announce the pre-conference sessions for the upcoming 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation happening in downtown Denver! While the conference will officially be from Friday, November 2nd through Sunday, November 4th; we also have a full day planned for several pre-conference sessions on Thursday, November 1st! We encourage you to keep these in mind when planning your trip for NCDD2018 and consider joining us the day before to participant in these fantastic pre-conference sessions – which you can check out below.

Stay tuned to the NCDD blog in the coming weeks for information on registering for these pre-conference sessions, and we will begin announcing the workshops next Monday. Friendly reminder to get your tickets for NCDD by clicking here. We have a room block at the Sheraton Downtown Denver (where the conference will be held), and if you are looking for a roommate for the conference – check out our blog post here to coordinate!


Pre-Conference Sessions: Thursday, November 1st

Tackling Wicked Problems in Local Communities: A Workshop for Local Governments, School Districts, and Community Leaders
This workshop is focused on building local capacity to engage difficult issues more collaboratively and productively through the use of deliberative engagement processes. Deliberative engagement involves interactive, often facilitated, small group discussions utilizing materials and processes designed to spark collaborative learning rather than merely the collection of individual opinions. An opening session will examine the concept of “wicked problems” as a framework to better understand difficult issues and then review recent research on social psychology to help explain why traditional engagement processes are often counterproductive to supporting the high quality communication democracy requires. The workshop will then review the key components to deliberative engagement and explore and engage in hands-on practice with a variety of tools and techniques drawn from several dialogue and deliberation traditions. The workshop will be particularly valuable to practitioners focused on their local community working to build capacity across the public, private, and non-profit sectors for higher quality engagement.

All proceeds from the workshop fees are being provided to NCDD to support their ongoing efforts.

Martín Carcasson, Ph.D
Professor of Communication Studies at Colorado State University, the Founder and Director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) (www.cpd.colostate.edu), and the current chair of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Board of Directors (www.ncdd.org).

We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe
The Community Rights movement has helped more than 200 communities in nine states to pass local laws that begin to dismantle corporate rule from the local up. Communities are banning harmful corporate activities, stripping corporations of their corporate personhood, & enshrining local community self-government. Profound culture shift takes place in this transformative process, where residents discover their power & authority as We the People. Learn how YOUR community can join this growing movement of people saying “No!” to corporate interference and “Yes!” to nurturing healthy communities.

Paul Cienfuegos
Founding Director, Community Rights US

Standing Up for Social Justice in Times of Fear & Hatred
When discussing and confronting “heated” racial and/or social justice issues within our communities, utilizing practical facilitation skills that are both culturally-responsive and sensitive to the needs and issues facing minority groups are imperative. In this workshop, we will make use of personal stories, diversity vignettes, and film clip scenarios to encourage participants to authentically address a variety of social justice issues. The group will be taught “Mindful Facilitation Techniques” to support one another to become stronger and more effective allies within our communities.

Lee Mun Wah
Master Diversity Trainer, Founder/CEO, StirFry Seminars & Consulting, Inc.

Transforming Community Spaces: A Workshop for Community Facilitators
Many places around the globe are seeing insistent challenges to monuments, memorials, contaminated sites, and other locations identified with histories of harm. These challenges offer opportunities to foster more complete understandings of history and to take action to remedy deep, systemic inequities, which tend otherwise to be ignored or suppressed. “Transforming Community Spaces” (TCS) is a new, national project led by the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia to help institutions and communities take on these challenges through inclusive, transparent dialogues that uncover hidden histories, advance social justice, and promote collective healing. This training will introduce facilitators to the concepts of problematic community spaces, to cultural humility, to trauma-informed facilitation, and to the Transforming Community Spaces Toolkit that will be provided to community leaders and others working to better their communities. The training will be highly interactive with both exercises and simulations. We anticipate that participants will return to their own institutions and communities with a new appreciation for the issues at stake in these conflicts and new capacity to help those institutions and communities bring people together to address their own problematic spaces.

Frank Dukes, Ph.D
Distinguished Institute Fellow, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Tanya Denckla Cobb
Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Selena Cozart, PhD
Community Facilitator, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

A Taste of the Theory and Practice of Bohm Dialogue
This one-day pre-conference session will provide participants with a weave of the background, theory, guides, and basic building blocks of Bohm Dialogue together with an experience of being in Dialogue on emergent topics. Bohm Dialogue can play a powerful role within polarized communities. This process is based on the work of the late David Bohm, a quantum physicist who turned to philosophy to move ideas from his quantum worldview into practical ways of resolving complex social problems often rooted in unacknowledged cultural assumptions.

Linda Ellinor
Founder and Sr. Partner, Action Dialogue Group
Beth Macy, Ph.D
Owner and Lead Consultant, Macy Holding Management LLC 

Better Group Experience in Franklin Circles and Beyond

Since we established our partnership with NCDD member org, Ben Franklin Circles (BFC), we have been sharing stories from Circles that have been convening. This article from Victoria Fann, who hosts a circle in North Carolina, shared an article on A Better Group Experience, that shares some foundational tips to good group process that can be used for Ben Franklin Circles and beyond this process: the right setting, good guidelines, and gentle facilitation. You can read the post below and find the original post on BFC’s site here.


A Better Group Experience

As Ben Franklin discovered hundreds of years ago, something magical happens when a group of people get together to engage in meaningful conversation: that circle of individuals becomes something far greater than the sum of its parts. A powerful, dynamic energy emerges from the group collective and creates access to all the combined energy, tools, inspiration, the information, wisdom, insights and resources of that group of people.

In this context, people are able to share great levels of wisdom, become vulnerable with each other, establish a higher level of trust than they would in a social setting and have a deep level of intimacy with people they barely even know very quickly.

In addition, small groups that connect deeply often facilitate high levels of motivation, honesty, healing, growth, learning that can motivate people to think and behave in ways that they might not have considered before. When someone tells a story or models something new, it opens up a whole new range of possibilities, which ultimately, can foster hope and optimism.

Given what’s happening in our world today, with loneliness becoming an epidemic and suicide rates rising, this is extraordinary. And yet it’s something that isn’t done enough.

Yes, there are thousands of Meetup groups happening around the world based on common interests. But, unless there are certain conditions, those meetings will not yield the same transformative power as a small group having a deep discussion in a quiet environment.

So what are the conditions that open the doors to the extraordinary?

It’s fairly simple really. The right setting, a good set of guidelines and gentle facilitation.

Setting
Let’s talk about the setting first. I’ve run successful groups for close to thirty years, and the majority of those groups took place in my living room or the living room of a group member. Why? Because it’s one of the few places that combines privacy, comfort, quiet, natural lighting, a friendly host, non-public bathroom, occasional adorable pets, etc. If you want a group of people to relax, take off their masks, open up and share their stories, gather them in an environment that is familiar, that is associated with relaxation and ease and feels more like a gathering of friends than a business meeting. No other setting even comes close to this.

Our Ben Franklin Circle initially met in a local café, and while it was nice to be able to buy coffee and baked goods, it ended up being too noisy and not private enough. Plus, we were sitting around tables in wooden chairs with a table between us. Shifting to a living room setting in a member’s home sitting on comfortable chairs and couches, created a totally different experience that immediately allowed us to deepen the discussion. You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief.

But setting alone isn’t enough. In fact, when you’re in a less formal setting, the tendency would be to fall back into casual, undirected discussion. This is why there is a strong need for guidelines.

Guidelines
Again, these are simple and not at all inhibiting. Instead, they create an even deeper level of trust and relaxation because the participants know that they will be heard and that conversation will stay on topic, and not degenerate into debates and philosophizing.

Here is the guideline that I created years ago for all the groups I’ve run and am currently using in our Circle:

  • Speak from the heart and from direct experience using “I” statements.
  • Speak without interruption or cross-talk.
  • Respect each other’s need for silence as well as each other’s need to speak and be heard.
  • Listen from the heart and serve as a compassionate witness for other people in the circle. To be an effective witness means paying attention to what’s being said without interpreting, judging, or trying to “fix” or rescue the person speaking.
  • Respect each other’s privacy and keep everything that’s shared confidential.

These guidelines are not new nor are they unique. However, they are incredibly effective creating a group experience that is deeply rewarding.

Gentle Facilitation
Finally, it is important to have someone that is able to lead the group with a gentle hand. Mostly, this person presents conversation-starting questions and quotes (or as I mentioned in a previous blog post allows them to be drawn from a hat), keeps the conversation on topic, makes sure everyone has had an equal opportunity to share and be heard and generally tunes into what is needed by the group. That sounds like it’s a lot, but it’s fairly simple. A good facilitator is one that fades into the background and appears to participate in the same way as other members. This establishes trust and removes any sense of hierarchy.

In my experience, setting, guidelines and gentle facilitation are what makes a good group experience, an extraordinary one.

I will leave you with a little food for thought from Ben Franklin:

“To expect people to be good, to be just, to be temperate, etc., without showing them how they should become so, seems like the ineffectual charity mentioned by the apostle, which consisted in saying to the hungry, the cold and the naked, be ye fed, be ye warmed, be ye clothed, without showing them how they should get food, fire or clothing.”

You can find the original version of this post on Ben Franklin Circles’ site at https://benfranklincircles.org/tips-advice/a-better-group-experience.

When NCDD Members Meet: Opening to Each Other’s Story

We love hearing about when our NCDD members make connections and meet up! Recently, Susan McCormack met up with David and Erin Leaverton of Undivided Nation at McCormack’s Vermont home to learn more about each other’s work; which Susan then shared the experience on her Creative Discourse blog. The Leavertons are spending the year traveling to every state in the US, to hear stories first-hand from folks and dig deeper into understanding the divisions in this country – learn more about their travels from our June Confab with them! You can read the post below and find the original post on McCormack’s blog here.


An Encounter With Hope

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a complete stranger.  He was traveling all fifty states with his family. He was in Vermont and wanted to meet with me to hear the story of my life and my work.

I soon realized that if we were to meet, I was most interested in hearing his story.  Here is what I knew from our brief correspondence.  A successful political consultant for conservative Republicans, he realized that maybe he had done his job too well; that the politics of division may have helped win many elections but this approach also led to a corrosive sort of politics dominated by fear.  This dawning awareness, along with a courageous dose of self-reflection and prayer (he and his wife are devout Christians), led him and his wife to quit their jobs, sell their house, and leave their comfortable life in a small, white, middle class Texas town. They packed up an RV and set out on a yearlong journey with their three young children.  Undivided Nation was born.  David and Erin had a big goal.  They hoped to understand the political divide and figure out how to bring unity to the nation.  Their journey has taken an unexpected turn. More about that later.

So, would I talk to this guy?  Of course I would. First, though, I needed him to know something about me.  If I was going to invite this stranger into my home, I needed him to know that I have a wife, not a husband as he might expect.  I e-mailed the invitation and waited. I didn’t hear back right away. I wondered if maybe his brand of Christianity just couldn’t accommodate the reality of my life.  It was a painful waiting, a fear of being rejected before ever being seen and known.

The next day, though, the response came through, and David accepted my invitation to come to our home the next day.  I would make us lunch.

Over a two hour period and grilled cheese sandwiches we talked.  The words couldn’t come fast enough. Hearing the story of David’s transformation was beautiful.  He began Undivided Nation with the thought that he and Erin were going to listen carefully to stories of the political divide and figure out ways to mend it.  That’s not the story that has unfolded. Twenty-four states in, David and Erin have heard stories of a terrible divide; a divide that has had a profound impact on people’s experiences, their prospects for success, whether they and their children live or die.  This is not the political divide they expected to learn about, but the racial divide in our country. David’s exposure to these stories, stories he never heard in his white, middle class bubble in small town Texas, jeopardized his lifelong view that America is the land of opportunity; that anyone can succeed by the “bootstrap” method of hard work and determination.  Through careful and courageous listening, David and Erin are learning how the racist systems our country was founded on have created significant obstacles for many brown and black Americans.

Unlike David, my life circumstances exposed me to people of diverse backgrounds and experiences from a young age.  In fact, I have been a student of these systems for many years.  If you take the time to look, you can see the legacy of hundreds of years of laws, policies, practices, and attitudes that were foundational to our country’s beginnings, and have continued in various forms over the years to perpetuate the status quo.  The racial divide is harsh, profound, and in stark relief in our current national consciousness. It is laid bare by the country’s reaction to our first black president and the rhetoric and actions of what some refer to as our first “white” president.

If you love this country and believe in the promise of our founding documents, our present reality is almost unbearable to come to terms with, especially for white Americans like me and David.  If I am honest, I have to admit that at times I continue to cling to the mythology of America; to romanticize our progress despite ample evidence to the contrary. This is a dubious luxury that people of color don’t have.  The reality isn’t just around them, it is impacting people of color directly, daily. Even though it is tempting for white people to turn away from this reality, it seems as if an awakening is occurring among many white Americans.  We are helped along on this path by a plethora of insightful bookspodcasts, blogs, and videos.

Once we realize that the systems designed to disadvantage some of us, end up disadvantaging all of us, aren’t we compelled to take action to change the status quo? The next question becomes, what sort of action should we take?  So much needs to change. For David and Erin, Undivided Nation is their unique contribution.

Without David’s journey, I wonder if he would have accepted my invitation to meet me and see my ordinary life with my wife.  We are all so much more than the characteristics and systems that are used to divide us up. Until we sit down across from each other and share our stories though, how will we ever know?

You can read the original version of this article on McCormack’s Creative Discourse blog at www.creativediscourse.org/blog/2018/7/10/an-enounter-with-hope.

Local Civic Challenge #3: Getting Ready for Election Season

In the third part of the Local Civic Challenge from by NCDD member, The Jefferson Center, they encourage folks to get ready for election season and offer some great resources to prepare. In June, JC had a mini-challenge every week for folks to be more engaged with their local democracy. This round connected folks about registering to vote and volunteering for elections. You can read the post below and find the original on the JC site here.


Local Civic Challenge #3: Getting Ready for Election Season

Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to democracy, so this week we’re challenging you to get more involved with the process. Below, find out where you vote, how to register yourself and help others, volunteer at the polls, and more.

1. Get Registered

First off, make sure you’re registered to vote. A great place to start is vote.gov, where you can find out how to register online, or download a hard copy of the National Mail Voter Registration Form to send in. For information about registering in person, registering in other languages, registration deadlines, voter requirements, and more, check out this voting guide.

2. Find out where you vote

You can find your local election office here. This website will direct you to your state’s voting guide, where you should be able to see your polling place (including maps and directions), districts for your precinct, and candidates and questions that will be on the ballot at the next election. Your state may also have a primary election coming up soon, which determines the candidates that will be on the ballot in the general November election.

3. Know the issues and positions

What issues do you care about? Do you know where candidates stand? Here are a few resources that will help you match your views with your vote:

iCitizen or Vote411: provide voter guides by location

Project Vote Smart: helps you explore not only issues and stances, but voting records and campaign contributions

BallotReady: research every name and issue on the upcoming ballot

iSideWith: working backwards, this matches you with the “perfect” candidate based on your stances on issues

After you find your favorite candidates, see if they could use any help on the campaign trail. Joining a volunteer team is usually as simple as making a quick phone call or sending an email.

4. Help others

Help another person register to vote. Download and share voter outreach materials like these online and at your office, college, or neighborhood centers, and see if your community has a local get-out-the-vote campaign. For teachers, programs like Your Vote Matters can help students learn more about the voting process.

5. Work at the polls

Election judges are temporary, paid employees of local election offices who handle all the aspects of voting day! Your duties would include setting up the polling place, ensuring elections are fair, impartial, and secure, and tabulating the votes for the precinct. Contact your local election office to find out the requirements, like if you have to be a registered voter in that state, of a certain age, or officially affiliated with a political party.

How are you preparing for the upcoming elections? Was it difficult to find information about voting in your community?

Next week, we’ll take a look at the power of supporting local journalism and community storytelling.

You can find the original version of this article on The Jefferson Center site at www.jefferson-center.org/getting-ready-for-election-season/.

Public Agenda Exploring Engagement Webinar on July 26th

Looking to strengthen your engagement skills and learn more tools for doing this work? Then we encourage you to check out the upcoming opportunities with NCDD member org, Public Agenda! This week on Thursday, July 26th, they will be offering a free webinar on Exploring Engagement: Cutting-Edge Topics, Trends, and Tools from 3:30 – 4:30pm Eastern, 12:30 – 1:30 Pacific. Later in the fall, PA will host an in-person workshop on October 23rd in Silver Spring, MD, where Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will conduct an all-day training for leaders looking to strengthen their engagement strategies. You can learn about both in the post below and find the original information on PA’s site – here for this week’s webinar and here for the fall workshop.


WEBINAR – Exploring Engagement: Cutting-Edge Topics, Trends, and Tools

Topic: Exploring Engagement: Cutting-edge topics, trends, and tools

Description: What exactly is engagement and why does it matter? How do you make the case that your organization or community should be engaging more? Why are residents expecting (or demanding) different opportunities to engage? What are “thick” and “thin” forms of engagement? How can engagement affect political and social inequities? What are the cutting-edge trends and tools, and the latest success stories? What are the mistakes to avoid?

Join us for a one-hour webinar on Thursday, July 26, where Public Agenda’s engagement team will present some answers to these questions, take questions and suggestions, and introduce resources for further exploration.

Time: July 26, 2018 3:30 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

REGISTER HEREwww.publicagenda.org/pages/webinar-exploring-engagement-cutting-edge-topics-trend-and-tools

WORKSHOP – Public Engagement Strategy in Silver Spring

Who: Leaders looking to revamp or strengthen their engagement strategy
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. EST
Location: Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Agenda: October 23, 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. EST — Public Agenda workshop

Looking for assistance with organizing and sustaining productive public engagement? Struggling to decide how to use online engagement tools? Frustrated with the standard “2 minutes at the microphone” public meeting? Need expert advice on bringing together a diverse critical mass of people?

Our Public Engagement team is leading a workshop on how you can hone an effective engagement strategy.

On October 23, Public Agenda’s Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will:

  • Provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of public engagement today;
  • Help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of public engagement in your community;
  • Explore potential benefits of more sustained forms of participation;
  • Demonstrate a mix of small group and large group discussions, interactive exercises, case studies and practical application exercises;
  • Develop skills for planning stronger engagement systems;
  • List existing community assets that can be instrumental for sustained engagement;
  • Anticipate common challenges to planning for stronger systems;
  • Develop an initial set of next steps to pursue.

Learn more about pricing information and how to register in the link below.

REGISTER HEREwww.publicagenda.org/pages/silver-spring-strat-lab-october-23

Looking for a roommate at NCDD2018? Coordinate here!

In just a little over three months, the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation will be taking place in the heart of downtown Denver. NCDD2018 will convene folks from across the country who are passionate and dedicated to dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work. With ticket sales flying and folks already trying to find hotel roommates, we wanted to hold space here on the blog for conference attendees to use for coordinating NCDD2018 connections – whether it be to find a roommate, organize rideshares, or whatever else you need. Use the comments section of this blog post to let other attendees know what you’re looking for. Click here to check out our blog post for the previous NCDD2016 conference for an example of what we mean.

While the official conference kicks off the morning of Friday, November 2nd, we wanted to give attendees a heads up to consider arriving on Wednesday evening or Thursday because we have a full line-up of pre-conference session being organized for Thursday, November 1st! We will begin announcing those pre-conference sessions next week and are thrilled for what our network has in store.

In addition to the cool offerings at NCDD2018, the conference is really well located in Denver’s cute downtown and there is no shortage of fantastic restaurants and things to experience. The conference will run until Sunday, November 4th around 4pm, so we recommend you stay until Sunday evening or depart Monday, November 5th. Find out more about your transportation options on our NCDD 2018 travel & lodging page.

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, located right on the popular 16th Street Mall. We’ve negotiated a great rate of $165/night for conference attendees. You can learn more about the hotel on their website here, but you must use this link to get the NCDD rate:

www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/NCDD2018

Alternatively, you may book by phone by calling Central Reservations at 888-627-8405 and mentioning you are part of the “National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation – NCDD2018” block. Note that the rate is only in effect until 5:00pm MST on Wednesday, October 10th, though we encourage you to book your room ASAP as rooms are filling up fast.

If you need to cut lodging costs while still staying at the hotel, drop a comment in the comment section below about your interest in finding a roommate. We suggest you mention:

  1. Your name, gender, and any special requirements or considerations your potential roommate should know about you (for example, if you’re a smoker, night owl, snorer, etc.)
  2. When you’re arriving and departing and which nights you want to share a room
  3. Email or phone contact info in case people would like to connect with you directly

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, check out our conference FAQ page. If you still have questions after that, feel free to send Keiva an email at keiva@ncdd.org.

Can’t wait to see you all there!