Don’t Miss Today’s Confab Call feat Senator Unger!

NCDD is excited for today’s FREE Confab Call featuring West Virginia State Senator John Unger. The one-hour call takes place at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific. It’s going to be a great event – so make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot on the call!

Senator Unger is a major advocate for utilizing dialogue and deliberation to engage with constituents. Some of you may know him from the National Issues Forums Board of Directors, or have heard about his work in West Virginia already!

On this call, he will be sharing his most recent experience with using engagement practices while seeking reelection. He was just reelected this November in a race with a well-funded opponent, and attributes at least in part his willingness to engage with the communities he represents in these ways to his successful campaign.

John Unger has committed his life to being a public servant-leader and bringing together his many experiences in theology and public life. Unger is currently serving as a West Virginia state senator representing Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia. Unger was first elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1998 at the age of 28 – making him one of the youngest elected state senators in West Virginia history. He is currently serving his fifth four-year term and is the Senate Minority Whip. Also, Unger is currently the pastor of the three historic Harpers Ferry Civil War churches: St. John Lutheran Church, Bolivar United Methodist Church, and the priest of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Unger has also done extensive work relating to international humanitarian issues in Asia, India, and the Middle East.

During his Senate tenure, Unger lead to make West Virginia one of the first states in the nation to have universal early childhood education through the West Virginia Early Childhood Education Act. He combated child poverty and hunger with the Feed to Achieve Act. Senator Unger also sponsored the creation of the State Division of Energy, Farmland Protection Act, Water Resource Protection Act, anti-animal cruelty legislation, anti-litter legislation and numerous education bills.

This will be an engaging conversation on a timely topic in our politics. Don’t miss out – register for our call today!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Online Roundup feat NIFI, MetroQuest, Living Room Conversations, and the Zehr Institute!

As we get into the second week of January, the online events going on in the dialogue, deliberation, and engagement field are starting to ramp up. Below are events happening this week and a preview of some of the ones happening next week. Learn more about the Common Ground for Action deliberative online forums from NCDD member National Issues Forums Institute, and webinars from NCDD member orgs, MetroQuest and Living Room Conversations, and the Zehr Institute.

Do you have a webinar or other event coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know in the comments section below or by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Online Roundup: NIFI, Living Room Conversations, Zehr Institute, MetroQuest

National Issues Forums Institute – January CGA Forum Series: Climate Choices

Tuesday, January 15th
1:30 pm Pacific, 4:30 pm Eastern

Please join us for a Common Ground for Action (CGA) online deliberative forum on January 15th @4:30pm ET/1:30pm PDT on Climate Choices: How Should We Meet The Challenges of a Warming Planet?

If you’ve never participated in a CGA forum, please watch the “How To Participate” video before joining. You can find the video link here: https://vimeo.com/99290801

If you haven’t had a chance to review the issue guide, you can find a downloadable PDF copy at the NIF website: https://www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/climate-choices

Also, if you’d like to watch the NIFI starter video, you can see it here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/climatechoices/172418880

REGISTER: www.nifi.org/en/events/january-cga-forum-series-climate-choices

Living Room Conversations webinar – Status & Privilege

Tuesday, January 15th
2-3:30 pm Pacific, 5-6:30pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Status & Privilege. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • What are the privileges of your status?
  • What do you value and how is that connected to your status or privilege?
  • How does status, or lack of status, affect your sense of personal dignity? How have you noticed it impacting others?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. Briscoe T will be hosting.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-status-privilege/

Living Room Conversations webinar – Tribalism 101: Next Door Strangers

Thursday, January 17th
11 am-12:30 pm Pacific, 2-3:30pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Tribalism. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • Name one or more groups you feel at home or strongly identify with (where you find a sense of belonging and/or feel stronger together)
  • What generalizations do you make about other groups? How do you evaluate or check the validity of your generalizations, if at all? How important is it to you that your generalizations are accurate?
  • Some groups come together based on sharing a common culture, vision, or enemy. What is the commonality for your group? What need does your group fulfill in your life?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. Kathy & Mary will be hosting.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-tribalism-101-next-door-strangers/

Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice – “The Little Book of Racial Healing – A Virtual Book Launch”

Wednesday, January 23rd
1:30pm – 3pm Pacific, 4:30pm – 6pm Eastern
Guest: Jodie Geddes and Tom DeWolf
Host: Johonna Turner

Join authors Jodie Geddes and Thomas Norman DeWolf for this “virtual” book launch. This Little Book will be published by Skyhorse Publishers in January 2019. The authors will share the book’s genesis (hint: the seeds were planted at the RJ in Motion conferenceat Eastern Mennonite University in 2016). With restorative justice and trauma awareness principles at its foundation, Coming to the Table has grown from a gathering of two dozen people at EMU in 2006 to thousands of members across the United States today, including 32 Local Affiliate Groups meeting in communities in 12 different states.

Join the webinar for an engaging conversation of the content of the book, of Coming to the Table, and the high interest across the United States for truth-telling, liberation and transformation.

REGISTERhttp://zehr-institute.org/webinars/little-book-racial-healing.html

MetroQuest webinar – “Public Engagement at All Scales | CMAP’s Winning Recipe”

Wednesday, January 30th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

For the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, award-winning comprehensive plans involve public engagement at all scales, collaboration with 284 communities, and a Local Technical Assistance program that’s admired nationally. Join us January 30th to get inspired!

CMAP Deputy Executive Director of Planning Stephane Phifer, Associate Outreach Planner Katanya Raby, and Senior Planner Lindsay Bayley will take you inside their local approach to online engagement for OnTo2050 – their comprehensive regional plan to improve quality of life and economic prosperity for 8.5 million people.

Public feedback was essential to exploring alternative futures for innovative transportation, climate change, walkable communities, a transformed economy, and constrained resources. You’ll learn how CMAP used a multi-phased approach to online engagement for a variety of local plans, including the downtown Aurora Master Plan.

Attend this complimentary 1-hour webinar to explore effective ways to:

  • Engage inclusively to build inclusive plans
  • Uncover the ideas, hopes, and concerns of residents
  • Take a multi-phase approach to online engagement
  • Think both locally and regionally for collaborative planning

This webinar will include a live Q&A session to help you prepare for 2019. Bring your public engagement questions for Stephane, Katanya, Lindsay, and Dave Biggs, Chief Engagement Officer at MetroQuest.

REGISTER: http://go.metroquest.com/Public-Engagement-at-All-Scales-CMAPs-Winning-Recipe.html

Online Roundup feat Nat’l Issues Forums Institute & more!

In an effort to continue to bring you even more D&D events, we will be expanding the weekly webinar round-ups to include any online events! New additions this week include Common Ground for Action deliberative online forums from NCDD member National Issues Forums Institute, and webinars from NCDD partner, National Civic League, and member org, Living Room Conversations.

Do you have a webinar or other event coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know in the comments section below or by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Online Roundup: NIFI, National Civic League and Living Room Conversations

National Issues Forums Institute – January CGA Forum Series: What Should We Do about the Opioid Epidemic?

Wednesday, January 9th
5 pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern

If you’ve never participated in a CGA forum, please watch the “How To Participate” video before joining. You can find the video link here:https://vimeo.com/99290801

If you haven’t had a chance to review the issue guide, you can find a downloadable PDF copy at the NIF website.: https://www.nifi.org/es/issue-guide/opioid-epidemic

Please also watch the starter video before joining the forum: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/opioidepidemic

REGISTER: www.nifi.org/en/events/january-cga-forum-series-what-should-we-do-about-opioid-epidemic

National Civic League AAC Promising Practices Webinar – “Addressing Addiction on a Community-Wide Level”

Thursday, January 10th
9 am Pacific, 12 pm Eastern

Join the National Civic League to learn more about how two communities address addiction

Two communities will discuss their local intervention programs to address drug and/or alcohol abuse. Beaverton, OR will discuss their B-SOBR program and Hamilton County, OH will overview their Hamilton County Heroin Coalition.

B-SOBR Program- Beaverton, OR:
Faced with a burgeoning number of DUII citations, the Beaverton Municipal Court launched the B-SOBR program in 2011. B-SOBR, the first evidence-based practice (EBP) DUII court in Oregon, is designed to treat individuals whose drinking and drug use is beyond their control but who continue to drive motor vehicles. B-SOBR participants agree to strict conditions in exchange for remaining out of jail, including alcohol and drug treatment, regular reports to court, regular communication with a Case Manager, sobriety and urine tests, wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet, committing to Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar program, a search for employment, and random check-ins from Beaverton police officers. With a potential probation period that could last up to 60 months, the B-SOBR program hopes to have participants build a solid foundation in recovery during their time in the program.

Hamilton County Heroin Coalition- Hamilton County, OH:
The Hamilton County Heroin Coalition provides countywide leadership and solutions to address the heroin and opiate epidemic both immediately and in the long-term. The coalition is committed to assisting residents and neighbors with the emergency support that they need, as well as working to prevent the spread of drug use in youth before it begins. Through collaboration between public health officials, law enforcement, prevention experts and treatment providers, the coalition can make an impact on this pressing public health and public safety issue.

REGISTER: www.eventbrite.com/e/aac-promising-practices-webinar-addressing-addiction-on-a-community-wide-level-tickets-53746857297

Living Room Conversations webinar – Relationships First

Thursday, January 10th
2-3:30 pm Pacific, 5-6:30pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Relationships First. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • Have you ever seen or been in a conversation where people were not listening to each other? How did that turn out?
  • Have you ever taken a position or voiced an idea that was very different from a group you are part of? How did that feel? Or have you ever decided against speaking out because it just wasn’t worth the repercussions?
  • When have you used respect and listening to resolve a problem? Did it work?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-relationships-first-3/

Register ASAP for January Confab feat Senator Unger!

NCDD is excited to announce our January Confab Call featuring West Virginia Senator John Unger! This FREE call will take place Wednesday, January 16th from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific. Make sure you register today to secure your spot!

On the call, Senator Unger will discuss the integral role of public engagement in his work as a state senator. He will talk with us about how he has been using dialogue and deliberation to engage with constituents in his district, and how he attributes that to his recent reelection bid against a well-funded opponent.

John Unger has committed his life to being a public servant-leader and bringing together his many experiences in theology and public life. Unger is currently serving as a West Virginia state senator representing Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia. Unger was first elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1998 at the age of 28 – making him one of the youngest elected state senators in West Virginia history. He is currently serving his fifth four-year term and is the Senate Minority Whip. Also, Unger is currently the pastor of the three historic Harpers Ferry Civil War churches: St. John Lutheran Church, Bolivar United Methodist Church, and the priest of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Unger has also done extensive work relating to international humanitarian issues in Asia, India, and the Middle East.

During his Senate tenure, Unger lead to make West Virginia one of the first states in the nation to have universal early childhood education through the West Virginia Early Childhood Education Act. He combated child poverty and hunger with the Feed to Achieve Act. Senator Unger also sponsored the creation of the State Division of Energy, Farmland Protection Act, Water Resource Protection Act, anti-animal cruelty legislation, anti-litter legislation and numerous education bills.

This will be an engaging conversation on a timely topic in our politics. Don’t miss out – register for our call today!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Webinar Roundup Feat Living Room Conversations and IAP2

First webinar round up of the New Year! Check out the list of webinars happening this coming week from NCDD member Living Room Conversations and IAP2. FYI there are more webinars happening later next week that we will share closer to the day, so stay tuned to the blog for more!

Do you have a webinar coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Webinar Roundup: Living Room Conversations and IAP2

Living Room Conversations webinar – “Free Speech, Fighting Words, and Violence”

Monday, January 7th
4-5:30 pm Pacific, 6-8:30 pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Free Speech, Fighting Words, & Violence. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • How do we protect free speech and ensure public safety despite ongoing threats of violence?
  • Have you had a personal experience where free speech was inhibited? Or have you ever felt harmed by the speech of others?
  • How do we decide what our collective, social morality is? What is the federal government’s role?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket so someone on the waitlist may attend.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. The conversation host is Shay M.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-free-speech-fighting-words-and-violence/

Living Room Conversations webinar – “Fake News”

Tuesday, January 8th
1:30-3 pm Pacific, 3:30-5pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Fake News. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • What is fake news? What makes it fake?
  • Is fake news a problem? Why?
  • How do you decide what news sources to trust?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. The conversation host is Leah S.

IAP2 Monthly Webinar – Diversity and Inclusion in P2

Tuesday, January 8th
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

Reaching as many people as effectively as possible is vital in any public participation process, and that’s especially true when an area is demographically diverse. TriMet, the public transportation agency serving the Portland, Oregon, region, had to “reach people where they were” as it expanded a transit service through neighborhoods of historically under-represented residents. The city of Surrey, BC, had to reach out to a wide range of ethnicities and interests in updating its Parks, Recreation and Culture Strategy. Join us and find out how these processes accomplished it: they won the IAP2 USA and IAP2 Canada (respectively) Core Values Awards for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture.

Remember the two-stage process when registering. Your confirmation email will contain a link to our webinar service provider. Follow that link and fill in the form to receive your login information.

REGISTER: https://iap2usa.org/event-3076943

End-of-the-Year Message from the NCDD Board of Directors

What does it mean to be a proponent of dialogue and deliberation in society today?  

In the past, we might have been seen merely as civics educators – reminding people of some quaint responsibility to uphold abstract norms essential to abstract-sounding things like “civil society” and “democracy.” Back then, people might have been forgiven for scratching their head and wondering what’s the point of focusing so much on such things.    

Not anymore.  Heated partisan rhetoric and political divides have highlighted more than ever the value of the ideals that NCDD upholds: listening, seeking understanding, humility, pluralism, and respect.  In communities across our dynamic, diverse country, people like you are standing up and seeking ways to further support more dialogue and deliberation. NCDD exists to meet this need – and serve those seeking this support.   

As the board of NCDD, we feel acutely the responsibility to ensure NCDD’s work thrives into the future. And we are writing today to ask your help to make sure that happens.  

As you’ve heard already, we’re working hard to raise $15,000 dollars in our end of year fund drive – so we can amplify our collective voice in the new year. If you have benefitted from this network in the past, can you offer something to help it continue?  

Go here to support this end of year campaign at www.ncdd.org/donate/2018-funddrive As always, your donations and membership dues are tax deductible. Another thing you could do that could help is join/renew your membership, if it’s lapsed! We’d also love your help in encouraging friends and colleagues you know to consider joining NCDD as well.  

We believe the challenges of our day call for a healthy dialogue and deliberation movement – growing, compelling, and powerful.  Let’s make sure that happens!

Thank you in advance for your support.  

Sincerely,

NCDD Board of Directors:

Martin Carcasson, Chair
Susan Stuart Clark
Simone Talma Flowers
Jacob Hess
Betty Knighton
Wendy Willis

New Website Launches Called weDialogue – Test it Now!

The new website, weDialogue, recently launched and the creators are currently looking for folks to experiment with the site and provide feedback. weDialogue is a participatory, citizen-driven platform designed to facilitate better online news commentary and be a space for improved online discussions. The creators are testing between two platforms right now, so check out the site ASAP to join this exploratory phase! You can read about the website in the post below and find the original website here.


weDialogue – A Space for Real Debate

What is weDialogue?
weDialogue is a global experiment to test new solutions for commenting on news online. The objective of weDialogue is to promote humility in public discourse and prevent digital harassment and trolling.

What am I expected to do?
The task is simple. You are asked to fill out a survey, then wait until the experiment begins. You will then be given a login for your platform. There you will be able to read and comment on news as if it was a normal online newspaper or blog. We would like people to comment as much as possible, but you are free to contribute as much as you want. At the end of the experiment we would be very grateful if you could fill in a final survey and provide us with feedback on the overall experience.

Why is important to test new platforms for news comments?
We know the problems of harassment and trolling (see our video), but the solution is not obvious. Developers have proposed new platforms, but these have not been tested rigorously. weDialogue is a participatory action research project that aims to combine academic expertise and citizens’ knowledge and experience to test potential solutions.

How much does weDialogue cost? Who is financing weDialogue?
weDialogue is funded by Humility and Conviction in Public Life, a project of the University of Connecticut, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The grant is for USD 250,000. The real cost of weDialogue is significantly higher. Most members of the project team are volunteering a significant amount of time because they believe the objectives of the project are so important.

Do you have a political agenda? Is weDialogue a conservative or liberal project? Are you linked to a political organization?
weDialogue is not linked to any political organization. It is a non-partisan research project led by university researchers. Our political agenda is to improve online discussions so that they become more civil, safe and meaningful.

What are you going to do with the research?
All our research and data will be publicly available so that others can build upon it. Both the Deliberatorium and Pol.is are free software that can be reused. The data we will create and the resulting publications will be released in an open access environment.

Who is weDialogue?
weDialogue is an action research project led by a team of academics at the University of Westminster (UK) and the University of Connecticut (USA).  For more information about the academic project see our academic project website.

Timeline

weDialogue is divided into 3 phases:

Phase 1: Enrollment
In this phase you will be asked to fill out a survey and provide your email. Based on the survey data, we will create similar groups of participants to take part in the experiment. We aim to start the enrollment in the third week of November 2018.

Phase 2: Experiment
In this phase your group will be assigned to an online platform where you can comment on news items. You will receive an anonymous login and a password to access the platform. Groups will use different commenting platforms so that we can compare their impact on the discussion. We designed the experiment to last 3 weeks.

Phase 3: Exit survey and debriefing
At the end of the experiment, we will ask you to complete a final survey. We will then open all the discussion groups of weDialogue so that you can explore and compare the different platforms. You will have an opportunity to provide open feedback on the experience. We designed the debriefing to last 2 weeks.

You can check out the original weDialogue website at www.wedialogue.world/.

The Dangers of “Mega-partisan” Identities in the US

A Summary of the NCDD Listserv Conversation Entitled: Democrats are wrong about Republicans and Republicans are wrong about Democrats

Listserv Contributors: Ken Homer, Tom Altee, Babara (last name masked), Peter Jones, John Backman, Bruce Waltuck, Rosa Zubizarreta, Dennis Boyer, Linda Ellinor, Dana Morris-Jones, Sarah Read, David Fridley, Kim Crowley, Steve Griffith, Chris Santos-Long, Terry Steichen, James Anest, Joan Blades, Kenoli Oleari, David Fridley, Deb Blakeslee, Britt Blaser, Eric Smiley, Howard Ward

In July, NCDD member Ken Homer shared a news article by Perry Bacon Jr. in the “Secret Identity” column from FiveThirtyEight.com which features articles discussing the role of identity in politics and policy.  This article entitled, “Democrats Are Wrong About Republicans. Republicans Are Wrong About Democrats” claims that the political divide between Republicans and Democrats in the United States has grown to “encapsulate all other divides” and is continuing to grow reinforcing negative partisanship and overall misconceptions by both political parties about the other and their membership. This article emphasizes how “the parties in our heads” do not align with reality and that these stereotypes are problematic.

As many fellow NCDD members weighed in, the issue of an increasingly polarized population in the United States was deemed concerning. Questions arose about who fuels the fire of polarization and whether the encouragement is intentional via a divide and conquer strategy of the political parties themselves. Other important actors include traditional media and social media which frame thinking and dialogue regarding politics. Market driven media has led to a system were it is very easy to only consume what we want to, including local and global news. Increasingly, it is becoming easier to remain in political comfort zones or “echo chambers” that reinforce our own beliefs, deface the political “other”, and facilitate less necessity to look at policy outcomes versus political loyalties. As NCDD member Peter Jones wrote, “The news is not an unbiased partner but a corporate instigator in search of clicks and attention.”

We share our wonderings together in our NCDD community via the discussion listservs.  Multiple contributors chimed in with stimulating perspectives and ideas. Here are some examples:

  1. John Backman asks, “Based only on my own observations over the years, I wonder if another divide—one we rarely hear discussed—is even more fundamental and defining: between urban and rural?”
  2. Rosa Zubizarreta brings up ideas for new voting options including “ranked choice voting” to help our society step away from mega-partisan tendencies. Looking for alternatives that eliminate the frequent bi-partisan voting complaint of needing to pick “the lesser of two evils.”
  3. Linda Ellinor notes the worthwhile exercise of intentional system designs that could facilitate large scale conversations that focus on inclusivity with the objective of better governance. Reiterating that we must remain diligent, persistent, and intentional, because “it always leads to better futures when we tap our collective intelligence…” David Fridley agreed and would like to work with others to begin designing and working on a collaborative project.
  4. Kenoli Oleari emphasizes the need for “standing assemblies” around the world–bringing diverse communities together physically to combat isolations which leads to polarization. As Kenoli states, “It may take a community to raise a child; it also takes a community to raise adults.”
  5. A discussion about how the “elites” and “masses” dialogue (or lack thereof) and the importance of how these dialogues can be improved as varying contexts delineate who belongs to the “elite” versus the “masses.” In other words, in some contexts an individual or group may be an elite, and in a different realm, they may be part of the masses. One way mentioned that the two interact are via media reporting and the groups reacting. (Kenolli Oleari, David Fridley, Chris Santos-Long, Howard Ward)
  6. Britt Blaser brings up the idea for having crowdsourced policy-making in the United States context.

The phenomenon of mega-partisan politics can spur a desire to look externally to blame, however we must also critically look at our own ways of learning and aligning our values to political allegiances. Many in NCDD brought up ideas for critical reflection and moving discussion towards doable positive action including ways to think about structural improvements to existing democratic systems, fostering more participation at the local level, and ways to create dialogues that are politically inclusive to determine mutual goals across political divides.

Want to follow the full thread of this conversation? Check out the NCDD Discussion List archives!

We want to keep the dialogue going!

What are your thoughts to the questions below? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

What are the consequences of political choices being closely (and falsely) tied to many other identities including one’s religion, race, zip code, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education level, etc.?

What does it mean for someone to vote based on political party versus personal values?

What are mega-partisanship and negative partisanship? What are the implications to society of each of these phenomenon?

With a society that is primarily bipartisan, what are the most effective ways to exercise voice among those who do not identify with either the Democratic or Republican party?

How can we as a nation move towards a less polarized environment? Can data help?

How do individuals and communities define reason? Values? Information? Facts?

How can we work to challenge our own “blind spots” when it comes to political stereotypes and speculation?

What can be done to cross the divide? What could be done to eliminate it? What can the role be for those of us doing dialogue and deliberation work?

What could accountability look like for news/media/government?

How can the disconnect between what the American people want and policy initiatives be reconciled?

Read On – Additional Resources on the Topic:

Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. Vintage.

Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2007). When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize. Social Justice Research, 20(1), 98-116.

Javidiani, M. (2018) Beyond Facts: Increasing Trust In Journalism Through Community Engagement & Transparency. [MRP] Retrieved by: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2294/

Lessig, L. (August 10, 2017) TedTalk: How the net destroyed democracy. Retrieved by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHTBQCpNm5o

McLuhan, M., & Fiore, Q. (1967). The medium is the message. New York, 123, 126-128.

Mounk, Y. (July 2, 2018). The Rise of McPolitics: Democrats and Republicans belong to increasingly homogeneous parties. Can we survive the loss of local politics? New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/02/the-rise-of-mcpolitics

Wheatley, M. J. (2012). So far from home: Lost and found in our brave new world. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

AllSides Updates: New Students Website & Is Civility Bogus?

In an era when the mainstream media is hyperpolarized, it is vital to our societal and democratic well-being to have access to news sources with more balanced viewpoints. AllSides provides news sources from across the center-left-right spectrum and works to improve civil discourse, and they just announced exciting news and posted a great article exploring civility!

The new website, AllSides for Schools, offers resources for students to improve their media literacy, build empathy, and have tools for engaging in civil discourse – read more about it in the post below! Listen to the archive of our TechTuesday here featuring AllSides’ student-focused programming, Mismatch. 

They also shared the article, Is Civility a Bogus Concept After All?, which explores the challenging arguments around civility on if it’s possible and how it can be best utilized. You can read the article below and find the original on AllSides site here.


Brand New AllSides for Schools Website!

America, we need to talk. Our democracy is increasingly media-driven and polarized. How can we prepare young people?

We’re so excited to announce the launch of our brand-new AllSides for Schools website, featuring updated tools and resources to help students gain the media literacy and critical thinking skills they need to improve our democracy long-term.

We worked hard to launch our new Schools site, and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Featuring a clean new design, AllSides for Schools features nearly a dozen resources to make media literacy fun and engaging. Students can take AllSides’ bias quiz to find out where they fall on the Left-Center-Right political spectrum, then browse our Balanced Dictionary to see how people across the political spectrum define, think and feel differently about the same term or issue.

Plus, our Mismatch program and Civil Conversation Guides ensure students get the guidance they need to build relationships with people who are different from them. And it works — a whopping 92% of students who tried our Mismatch program said they better understood another person or perspective after just one conversation.

Through a revealing look at today’s news media and memorable experiences of respectful dialogue, AllSides for Schools equips students to navigate the complexities of modern media, social networks (on and offline), and personal relationships.

Join the 12,000 teachers and students in 47 states who are already using our tools every week. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.

You can check out the new Allsides for Schools website at www.allsidesforschools.org

Is Civility a Bogus Concept After All?

By Julie Mastrine

We built AllSides in part because we believe in the power of civility and civil discourse. AllSides helps people build relationships with those who are different from them, which we believe will ultimately improve our democracy.

But, could we be wrong? What if civility is actually a sham?

A TED Talk by political theorist Teresa Bejan raises this very question. Bejan studied and wrote a book about civility — particularly, religious tolerance in early modern England and America — because at the time, she thought that civility was, as she puts it, “bullsh*t.”

Yet how wrong she was.

After concluding her studies, Bejan learned “the virtue that makes un-murderous coexistence possible [in society] is the virtue of civility,” as she states in her TED Talk. “Civility makes our disagreements tolerable so that we can share a life together, even if we don’t share a faith — religious, political or otherwise.”

Still, she says, when most people talk about civility today, they are talking about something different than this. While civility is the virtue that “makes it possible to tolerate disagreement,” she says, “talking about civility [today] seems to be a strategy of disengagement — its like threatening to take your ball and go home when the game isn’t going your way.”

Often, she says, today’s “civility talk” is used as a way to “silence, suppress and exclude” those people we disagree with. (It’s a concept AllSides refers to as “tyranny of civility.”)

“Civility talk” or “tyranny of civility” gives people the feeling of the moral high ground while also allowing them to paint those they disagree with as offensive, or uncivil.

“Some people use “civility” when they want to communicate that certain views or people are beyond the pale, but they want to save themselves the trouble of actually making an argument,” Bejan says.

This is why some people (like Bejan in the past) roll their eyes at the call for civility.

“It seems like “civility talk” saves us the trouble of actually speaking to each other, allows us to talk past each other, signal our superior virtue, and let the audience know which side we’re on,” she says. In this way, “civility talk” can actually deepen divisions.

Instead of civility talk, Bejan argues we need what she calls “mere civility.” This type of civility is not the same thing as being respectful, because “we need civility precisely when we’re dealing with people we find it the most impossible to respect.” And it’s not the same as being nice, either — “because being nice means not telling people what you really think about them or their views.”

Mere civility means “speaking your mind, but to your opponent’s’ face, not behind her back…Being merely civil means pulling out punches but not landing them all at once.”

The point of civility, she says, is to allow us to “have fundamental disagreements without denying or destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow with the people we think are standing in our way today.”

In this way, civility is closely related to courage.

“Mere civility is having the courage to make yourself disagreeable and to stay that way, but to do that while staying in the room and present to your opponents,” Bejan says. “If you’re talking about civility as a way to avoid an argument, as a way to isolate yourself in the more agreeable company of the like-minded who already agree with you, if you find yourself never actually speaking to anyone who fundamentally disagrees with you, you’re doing civility wrong.”

You can listen to Bejan’s TED Talk in full below.

You can read the original version of article on the Allsides Perspectives blog at www.allsides.com/blog/civility-bogus-concept-after-all.

Webinar Roundup Featuring Cities of Service and more!

Another roundup of webinars coming your way! We are thrilled to share the following list of webinars happening this week from the NCDD network, including NCDD members National Civic League and Living Room Conversations, and Cities of Service. We know there is a lot of great work going on in the field, and like we mentioned last week, we will be doing more roundup-style posts of webinars going on in order to keep up with all the great D&D happenings.

NCDD works to strengthen our network by being a resource center and hub for those passionate and working under the wide umbrella of dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work. We strive to support our coalition with posts such as this that elevate our members work and help to keep folks in our field informed on what’s going on.

We have a lot of vision for how NCDD can be of better service for our members, the D&D field, and our society. If you appreciate the work NCDD does and would like to support us (and invest in this vital field!), then please make a tax-deductible donation to NCDD today during our End-of-the-Year Fundraiser!

Do you have a webinar coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Webinar Roundup: Cities of Service, Living Room Conversations, and National Civic League

Cities of Service webinar – “How Tulsa’s Residents Increased the City’s Capacity to Address Public Problems”

Wednesday, December 12th
11am-12pm Pacific, 2-3pm Eastern

This spring, Cities of Service named the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma one of three winners of our Engaged Cities Award. Among several successful strategies to engage citizens, the city established the Urban Data Pioneers program made up of citizens committed to helping solve public problems by analyzing specific data.

This webinar will focus on a new city program called Civic Innovation Fellowship. This program takes citizen engagement in public problem solving even deeper. The program relies on citizens to shape the public problem, collect data around it, prototype solutions, and present the best ones to the city for budget considerations. James Wagner, City of Tulsa’s Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation will talk through the process of the Civic Innovation Fellowship highlighting lessons and impact to date.

REGISTER: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3077404798140506637

Living Room Conversations webinar – “Media and Polarization”

Thursday, December 13th
3:30-5 pm Pacific, 6:30-8pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Media and Polarization. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • How does the media impact you, your friends, and your family?
  • How often do you talk politics with your friends and family?
  • Has polarization impacted your relationships? What happened?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket so someone on the waitlist may attend.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. The conversation host is Lewis G.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/living-room-conversation-media-and-polarization/

National Civic League Webinar – “Engaging the Public in Fiscal Matters”

Wednesday, December 19th
11:30 am Pacific, 2:30 pm Eastern

Can the public really help local governments make solid budget decisions? Of course!

Two communities – Hampton, Virginia, and Placentia, California – will share how residents have contributed their views on budget matters. In Hampton, City Manager Mary Bunting will discuss the I-Value effort in Hampton. In Placentia, Rosanna Ramirez, the city’s director of administrative services, will talk about the city’s Citizens Fiscal Sustainability Task Force.

This webinar is part of the All-America City Promising Practices series and we shared more information about this offering earlier on the NCDD blog – read it here!

REGISTER: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aac-promising-practices-webinar-engaging-the-public-in-fiscal-matters-tickets-53114553058