NCDD Member Creates Racial Dialogues White Ally Toolkit

We are thrilled to share this excellent write-up by the Richmond-Times Dispatch on long-time NCDD member David Campt and his most recent racial dialogue work. Campt travels across the U.S. holding racial dialogue trainings using his White Ally Toolkit Workbook, which offers strategies for engaging in these conversations (learn more about the toolkit and purchase here). He speaks on the importance of white people having these conversations with fellow white people and emphasizes the need to communicate in a way that doesn’t attack but instead genuinely seeks to engage with each other. We encourage you to read the full article below or find the original version on the Richmond-Times Dispatch site here.


Williams: Racial dialogue is his specialty. His book details how white people should talk to each other about racism.

This post was shared with the permission of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Written by Michael Paul Williams

Coming of age in a polarized Detroit as black and white communities disengaged, David Campt became engrossed in the nature of conversation.

His hometown’s 1970s power struggle fueled his interest in terms of engagement as the outspoken Coleman Young, Detroit’s first black mayor, presided over a riot-torn city experiencing massive white flight to the suburbs. But his curiosity was also nurtured by a white teacher named Nathan Fine, who taught his students that people are far more alike than different.

“What he was trying to do is to get us to not replicate the kind of conflicts that we were watching on the news as fourth-graders,” Campt recalled. “The city’s in a certain amount of turmoil. And he’s trying to have a different kind of message, trying to get us to see the common humanity.”

Helping people find common humanity through dialogue would become a vocation for Campt, 56, a civic engagement specialist affiliated with the Richmond-based nonprofit Hope in the Cities. He put his tools to work last week moderating a meeting of Mayor Levar Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission.

Issues don’t get much more contentious than the question of what to do with our Confederate statues.

“I have always thought about the monuments the same way I think about reparations, which is, what’s really important is the conversation about it,” Campt said during an interview Friday. “Where that lands has some significance, but what’s really important is how do institutions put the public in the position to engage each other. That’s what’s really important in these kind of big, divisive things.

“People are very focused on, ‘What’s the outcome?’ But my focus is, ‘What is the process? … What’s the engagement that you’re trying to foster?”

The tranquil commission meeting last week bore no resemblance to the verbal Molotov cocktails hurled about during a town hall-style meeting of the panel last August at the Virginia Historical Society, now called the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

“He did a superb job helping focus the meeting while providing ample opportunities for those attending to engage in a variety of ways,” said Christy Coleman, the commission’s co-chair and CEO of the American Civil War Museum.

On Thursday, Campt — a faculty member with Hope in the Cities’ Community Trustbuilding Fellowship — will read from his new book, ”The White Ally Toolkit Workbook: Using Active Listening, Empathy, and Personal Storytelling to Promote Racial Equity,” at the Downtown YMCA.

Campt, a gregarious and towering presence at 6 feet 5 inches tall, promises that the event will be interactive and entertaining with a minimum of white guilt.

“A lot of people who do this kind of race work, they think that it is important that white people feel bad about themselves and bad about the history. I’m not sure that that’s the best strategy for having people learn.”

The toolkit seeks to dismantle the notion that “racial dialogue” in America involves a conversation between white people and people of color. It argues that some progress on race relations is best achieved when white people talk to one another.

This is imperative for several reasons. Campt cites 2017 public opinion polls in which 55 percent of white respondents said they face discrimination.

If we’re going to advance the conversation, “part of our arsenal has to be white folks talking to each other about race when there are no people of color in the room.”

There’s another reason whites must more effectively engage race matters: People of color have grown increasingly weary of the task.

Campt’s book states that it would be “neither fair nor feasible” for people of color to carry the burden of these conversations. Their ranks are too few and they “are increasingly fatigued by educating white people; they are already dealing with the additional burden of actually coping with racism.”

He said Friday that white allies of people of color have several built-in advantages in talking to fellow whites about race: racially biased whites might be more receptive and can’t legitimately accuse the “allies” of arguing their point out of self-interest.

But all of this will require a sharpening of their engagement tools.

“Part of what has happened is that allies have come to think that the way to talk to skeptics is to berate them, to call them names, to inundate them with facts — to basically use strategies that are not effective, that we know from science are not effective,” he said.

These inappropriate tactics have helped fuel a backlash. “We have given our allies bad advice about how to engage people.”

Campt said we must learn to talk across our divisions. As residents of the former capital of the Confederacy should know all too well, “different groups have had very different histories and senses of the history. And part of what the monuments represent is contention over what’s going to be our collective history.

“Well, our histories are very divergent,” Campt said. “Every group thinks its version of history is the right version. If we’re going to create a democracy that works, then what’s important is we try to come up with a collective history.”

The history that landed Campt in his role as a dialogue leader was circuitous.

He studied computer science on a scholarship at Princeton, but hated it. At age 20, with a degree at hand, he edited a magazine in New York and grappled with racism in all its contradictions.

“I’m afraid on the subway and people are afraid of me,” he recalled.

He moved to the West Coast to attend graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. During his second year, he began working as a dialogue facilitator.

“I think I was a natural at that because of my obsession with how people talk to each other,” he said.

After earning a Ph.D. in city planning, he was chosen for the staff of President Bill Clinton’s Initiative on Race.

“It was a fantastic opportunity and a horrible experience,” Campt recalled.

Whatever ambitions Clinton had about racially progressive public policy weren’t shared by some of his staff members, who were more intent on campaign-style messaging than on fostering engagement, Campt said.

Then the Monica Lewinsky scandal exploded in 1998, with the race initiative as collateral damage.

“The extent to which he had any moral authority was diminished,” Campt said.

It’s difficult to imagine, but 20 years later, we’re even more divided. On many fronts, we have lost the capacity to engage each other.

If his book’s tools can encourage productive dialogue on race, “the toughest issue in American engagement, maybe we can talk to each other across ideological lines on other issues,” Campt said.

Our current breach is not only corrosive to democracy, it’s also eroding families.

“People don’t want to go home for Thanksgiving because they don’t want to be with their relatives, or they don’t want to have those encounters. That’s ridiculous.”

Too often, when white individuals hear something racist from a family member or friend, they stare at their shoes. That’s an understandable response, Campt says.

“You don’t want to damage that relationship. So you’re stuck in a quandary. You don’t know what to do. You don’t want to attack the person so you don’t do anything.”

He’s seeking to empower people to respond with practical conversation strategies.

“This is about a third choice,” he said. “Don’t attack. Don’t avoid. Engage. This is about how you engage.”

– Michael Paul Williams, mwilliams@timesdispatch.com, published May 14, 2018

This post was shared with the permission of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. You can find the original version of this article on the Richmond Times-Dispatch site at www.richmond.com/news/plus/williams-racial-dialogue-is-his-specialty-his-book-details-how/article_7d086bdd-4b7f-5c7d-9947-8f66af2bf287.html.

Nevins Fellows Begin Internships – TWO with NCDD orgs!

We are very excited to share an update from Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy, that the new Nevins Fellows will be starting their summer internships! NCDD has partnered with the McCourtney Institute over the last few years to help connect students from their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program to internships with individuals and organizations in the D&D and public engagement field. We are extra proud to share that two of the fellows will be joining NCDD member orgs – the Participatory Budgeting Project and Everyday Democracy. Please join us in wishing all the Nevins Fellows the best of luck in their new roles – you will be great!

We encourage you to read the announcement below and find it on McCourtney’s site here.


Nevins Fellows Begin Summer Internships

This week, our new cohort of Nevins Fellows will start working with organizations around the country that advance democracy in a variety of areas.

Over the next two months, students will have the opportunity to learn what it looks like to engage in deliberation, outreach, and other processes that are essential to a healthy democracy.

Here’s what they are most looking forward to as they begin their internships:

Alexis Burke
Participatory Budgeting Project
Brooklyn, New York

I chose to work with The Participatory Budgeting Project because of their tangible effects on the communities they work with. Through the implementation of small d democracy, The Participatory Budgeting Project helps to foster community and democracy in the New York metropolitan area.

I’m most looking forward to connecting with The Participatory Budgeting Project’s team members as well as members of New York’s various communities. I can’t wait to gain hands-on experience implementing everyday democracy.

Maia Hill
City of Austin
Austin, Texas

I selected this organization because the mission aligns with some of the practices I believe need to be incorporated within all communities. This line of work would help me in the long run because I plan on going into politics and/or becoming a State Representative and in order for me to be an effective and efficient leader in that line of work.

Entering into this internship, I hope to gain a greater understanding of the importance of participatory democracy. I am looking forward to learning how to be active within community engagement and how to get minorities within between race, ethnicity, gender, etc. involved within local government to get the change that they want and need within their communities. This hands-on experience will definitely make a huge difference in how I can also be more involved with the current community I reside in here at Penn State.

Sophie Lamb
Everyday Democracy
Hartford, Connecticut

I chose Everyday Democracy because of their focus on the inequalities in the criminal justice system. I am fascinated by the differences between how legislation is written compared to how it is implemented. I am also excited to see the outreach the organization does and how they interact directly with different communities.

I am most looking forward to the opportunity to see how laws are implemented compared to the theoretical intention behind legislation, specifically in regards to the racial disparity in the criminal justice system. In addition, this internship will allow me to continue to improve on the research and writing skills that I have built during my time at Penn State.

Stephanie Keyaka
City of Baltimore
Baltimore, Maryland

I went to school in Baltimore City, so I have an extreme love for the community. What attracted me to this site was Councilman Cohen’s dedication to building a stronger democracy and legislating that is rooted in equality and justice. I wanted to do more for communities of people that look like me, and this site and the office’s mission aligned perfectly with my political aspirations.

It will be very interesting to use a racial equity lens to tackle public policy issues in Baltimore City. Urban and local politics are often overlooked, but can have be of extreme importance for the members of this community. I am hoping to better learn the ways in which local politicians can have an impact on the immediate lives of residents, especially in marginalized communities

You can find the original version of this announcement on McCourtney Institute’s site at www.democracyinstitute.la.psu.edu/blog/nevins-fellows-begin-summer-internships.

Get NCDD2018 Tickets at “Super Early Bird” rate by Thurs!

WOW! It’s the five-month mark until the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation happening November 2-4 in Downtown Denver and we are getting so excited!! Last week we had over 100 proposals come in for workshop sessions at NCDD2018 and our conference team is now working through them. There are so many fantastic ideas that came in, we can’t wait to share with you what the line up will be! If you are interested in learning more about what NCDD conference have been like and what kind of workshops our innovative network has brought to the table in the past – make sure you check out our past conferences (and guidebooks!).

In addition to sharing our excitement about the upcoming conference, we wanted to give a friendly reminder that the “Super Early Bird” rate for tickets is available until tomorrow Thursday, May 31st! This is the only time that tickets for the conference will be available at this low rate, so make sure you secure yours before they go up on Friday. Whether you are have been working in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement for many years or you are a newbie in the field – our conferences have something for everyone! Register for the conference by clicking here.

Our theme for this conference is, Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and it is our hope that we can come together to work on how to further amplify dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our extended community of practice offers, and we’d like to explore ways to make this work spread. Check out our ideas on the NCDD2018 page here for how we want to further build D&D power and deepen the impact of engagement work.

NCDD conferences are known for being energetic and transformational experiences where this incredible talking tribe can come and work together. They are opportunities which only come around every other year, so we hope you will join us in Denver this November!

NCDD2018 Sesh Proposals Due Weds and More Updates

Several reminders about our upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation happening November 2-4 in downtown Denver!

The most immediate reminder is that session proposals are due tomorrow Wednesday, May 23rd. Are you looking to do a workshop at NCDD2018? Now is the time to get your proposals in! Check out our post on tips for finding collaborators and guidelines for presenting sessions at the conference. We invite session proposals that will highlight the work being done to tap D&D into the peoples’ daily lives, build democratic participation, and better expose D&D work. Our conference team is excited to see what sessions you want to bring!

We want to give you a friendly reminder that the “Super Early Bird” registration rate is available until Thursday, May 31st! On Friday, June 1st, the registration will go up to the”Early Bird” rate of $385, which will be active until July 15th (where it will then go up to the regular rate of $450). Take advantage of this ultra-low rate now to join over 400 leaders, practitioners, and enthusiasts, on Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, our theme for NCDD2018Our goal of the conference is to explore how to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work’s many tools and processes into greater visibility and practice within our society. Learn more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018 and register to secure your tickets ASAP!

In case you missed our announcement, we are now accepting NCDD2018 sponsors! Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together many of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Sponsor ($10,000+), Collaborator ($5,000+), Co-Sponsor ($3,000),  Partner ($2,000), or Supporter ($1,000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and goodwill for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

Finally, we have our FAQs page up on the NCDD2018 conference page, as well as, information on travel and lodging – where you can learn more about the room block price and fun things (besides the conference) to do while you’re in Denver! FYI we will also be posting on the blog later this summer to help folks coordinate if they want to share a room with someone.

Want to get an idea of what past NCDD conferences have been like? Check out these short videos of our 2016 and 2014 conferences!

Register for the 2018 Summer Peacebuilding Institute

In case you missed it, the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) is happening now! This phenomenal program offered by NCDD member org, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University is an opportunity to learn from leaders in the D&D field about conflict transformation and restorative justice. Courses can be taken to improve your skills or for academic credit (and they now offer an M.A. in Restorative Justice program).  Session 1 has already begun, but the remaining sessions are going until the end of June – so check it out ASAP (or prep for next year!). Below are the list of courses offered for 2018, and you can read more about the courses and SPI here


Summer Peacebuilding Institute 2018

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) provides useful and intellectually stimulating opportunities to learn more about yourself, others and the world around you. Courses are designed for people interested in integrating conflict transformation, peacebuilding, restorative justice, and related fields into their own work and personal life.

SPI 2018 Course Offerings
Session I – May 14 – 22, 2018 (7-day, 3-credit)
Session II – May 24 – June 1, 2018 (7-day, 3-credit)
Session III – June 4 – 8, 2018 (5-day, 2-credit)
Session IV – June 11 – 15, 2018 (5-day, 2-credit)
Session V – June 18 -20, 2018 (3-day, non-credit workshops)

Only one course may be taken per session. All courses can be taken for training and skills enhancement or academic credit. Session 1 and 2 courses may be taken for three academic credits. Session 3 and 4 courses may be taken for two academic credits.  Courses with PAX/PTI can be taken for academic credit or training. Courses with PTI can only be taken for training. Contact SPI for more information.

If you have questions about a particular course that are not answered in the information below, please feel free to contact the SPI office at spi[at]emu[dot]edu.

SESSION I: May 14 – 22, 2018
Analysis: Understanding Conflict – PAX/PTI 533, Gloria Rhodes
Explore the nature, dynamics, and complex causes of conflict and violence. Discuss how relationships, motivations, culture, and worldviews increase or decrease violent conflict. Learn ways to understand and change multifaceted systems that perpetuate conflict.

Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR), Level II – PAX/PTI 640, Katie Mansfield and Lisa Collins
Review and deepen the concepts from STAR Level 1. Work with trainers and other participants to plan your application and contextualization of STAR frameworks, models, concepts, and activities.

Transformative Leadership for Organizational Development – PAX/PTI 684, David Brubaker and Elizabeth Girvan
Focus on the role of leaders in leading organizational and social change and managing structures, personnel, finances, and external networks and partnerships.

Forgiveness & Reconciliation – PAX/PTI 563, Hizkias Assefa
Explore the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation from multidisciplinary perspectives and understand how they can be used to generate durable solutions and healing at many levels of conflict from the interpersonal to the international.

Modern Slavery and the Prison-Industrial Complex – PAX/PTI 685, Monti Narayan Datta
Critically assess what human rights are, explore how and why it is still possible for human beings to be bought and sold around the world today, and investigate inequality in the American prison system.

SESSION II: May 24 – June 1, 2018
Formation for Peacebuilding Practice – PAX/PTI 532, Gloria Rhodes
Explore various competencies needed by those who feel compelled to work for peace and social justice. Strengthen your abilities to listen and communicate, create and maintain healthy boundaries, recognize and promote diversity, lead from your vision and values, and engage people in dialogue and decision-making.

Restorative Justice: Principles, Theories & Applications– PAX/PTI 571, Carl Stauffer
Deepen your understanding of justice. Explore a justice framework that focuses on healing, accountability, and community, not blame, punishment, and isolation.

Adaptive Action: Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century – PAX/PTI 645, Glenda Eoyang, John N. Murray and Mary Nations
Transform oppression into opportunity. Learn to effectively engage in a chaotic and uncertain political and social world. Analyze the dynamics that drive complex change in human systems and find practical ways to respond to forces that oppress.

Sexual Harms: Changing the Narrative – PAX/PTI 692, Carolyn Stauffer
Join the wave of leaders committed to creating environments free from sexual harm. Gain tools to respond to sexual violence and learn about preventative best practices. Design restorative interventions that build safety and resilience.

Circle Processes PAX/PTI 672, Kay Pranis
Gain skills to lead a process that brings together victims, offenders, family, community members, and others to have difficult conversations and respond to acts of violence or crime. Explore the foundational values and key structural elements of the circle process and learn to design and conduct circles.

Biblical Foundations of Justice and Peacemaking – BVG 541, Andrew Suderman
More than a study of a few select texts that deal with peacemaking, this course will explore and examine the various dimensions of peace in the Bible, with special attention to how the Bible as a whole, functions as a foundation for peacemaking. This course is being offered through Eastern Mennonite Seminary. To register as a non-seminary student use this part-time application.

SESSION III: June 4-8, 2018
Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR), Level 1 –PAX 540/PTI 041, Donna Minter and Ram Bhagat
Explore processes and tools for addressing trauma, breaking cycles of violence, and building resilience. Increase awareness of the impact of trauma on the body, mind, beliefs, and behavior of individuals, communities, and societies.

Truth-telling, Racial Healing and Restorative Justice – PAX/PTI 671, Fania Davis, Jodie Geddes and Lenore Bajare-Dukes
Explore linkages between truth, justice, and healing at personal and collective levels in the wake of violence. Discuss informal and formal approaches to truth-telling, restorative justice and reconciliation from around the world. Consider future applications of truth-telling amidst ongoing police violence against communities of color in the US.

Christian Spirituality for Social Action – PAX/PTI 688, Jennifer Lee and Johonna Turner
Explore Christian spiritual formation practices to nurture and sustain a life of community leadership, engaged ministry, and social activism. Expand awareness of spiritual disciplines as well as biblical and theological resources to support a faith-rooted approach to social action.

SESSION IV: June 11-15, 2018
The Transformative Power of Identity and Dignity – PAX/PTI 551, Barry Hart
Understand the positive and negative roles and transformative power of identity and dignity within complex conflicts, violence, and trauma.

Building Resilience in Body, Mind, and Spirit – PAX/PTI 612, Katie Mansfield and Katia Ornelas
Taking the body-mind connection seriously, peacebuilders, caregivers and change makers need full-bodied, creative engagement in activities for self-care and well-being. Explore strategies, tools, and exercises for individual participants and communities/organizations to cultivate safety, healthy uses of power, and a deeper sense of connection. Discuss cultural contexts, taboos, stereotypes, and biases that keep us from integrating creative, embodied practice into work for social change and peace.

Peace Education – PAX/PTI 546, Ed Brantmeier
Discuss the education that is needed for the elimination of direct and indirect forms of violence. Explore strategies to reduce violence such as bullying, implicit bias, ethnocentrism, physical fights, or institutional discrimination in schools, the workplace, and the community.

Designing Facilitated Processes that Work – PAX/PTI 689, Catherine Barnes
Do you ever think you need to go beyond basic meeting facilitation to design processes that will help groups address challenging situations, deal with differences and envision a better future? This class is intended for people with some experience of facilitation who want to take their skills to the next level through using context analysis, process design principles, and more conducive process methods.

Story-gathering: Participatory theatre for facilitation and empowerment – PAX/PTI 691, Heidi Winters Vogel and Roger Foster
Develop fluency in participatory theatre techniques for use in mediation, intervention and group facilitation to promote participant-generated change.

SESSION V: June 18-20, 2018
Restorative Justice in Higher Education – PTI 080 E, Jon Swartz and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz
How is the restorative justice approach being used in the context of education settings for accountability, repair, and healing?

Resisting the White Savior Complex in Social Justice Organizing – PTI 081 E, Amanda Gross and Cole Parke
What do well-intentioned white people need to understand about the harm, violence, and insidiousness of racism? Exploration of a theological basis for anti-racism work.

Crime Victims, Survivors, and Restorative Justice – PTI 082 E, Matthew Hartman
Explore the intersection between trauma, recovery, victim assistance, and restorative justice. Develop programming strategies that orient toward the needs of crime victims and survivors.

Developing Integrated Conflict Management Systems – PTI 083 E, Brian Bloch
Learn to create a system and culture that collaborative addresses conflict and the practical steps an organization can use to put this system in place.

Performance Arts: Developing Sustainable Resources for Community Learning & Action – PTI 084 E, Heidi Winters Vogel and Roger Foster
Learn to assess and evaluate performance-based community engagement programs to strengthen them and make them more attractive to funders.

Singing to the Lions: Helping Children Respond Effectively to Violence and Abuse – PTI 085 E, Lucy Steinitz and Naoko Kamiok
Training of trainers to learn the use of games, drama, dance, and art to help trauma-affected children and young adults overcome fear and violence in their lives.

You can find more information on these courses and the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/.

NCDD Teams Up for Bridging the Divides Workshop in CO

Several weeks back, I was invited by Colorado Common Cause to give a workshop at their monthly membership meeting in Denver, Colorado, on Bridging the Divide: or How to Have a “Productive” Political Conversation. This was an exciting opportunity to connect with this fantastic organization and share some of the best practices from the NCDD network on how to navigate emotionally-heated conversations.

Huge thank you to all the participants who attended the event and made it an engaging experience! Another big thank you to Caroline Fry from Colorado Common Cause for inviting NCDD to come speak with their members and share some of the tools and wisdom from our network to help better bridge divides.

Caroline kicked off the meeting with a brief intro to Colorado Common Cause –  an org that has been working for over four decades to improve democratic processes by reducing barriers to voting, working to ensure that elections are run fairly, reducing the influence of money in politics, and that our government is being held accountable through more transparent practices.

During the workshop, I shared the transformative work being done in the NCDD network to enable people to connect more authentically with each other, build deeper relationships, and engage in challenging conversations- specifically around heated political issues. I spoke on the importance of humanizing each other and finding common ground by connecting to our shared values; and how this work is possible in even the most painful conflicts (though it is by no means easy). I lifted up examples from our NCDD members of tools that help facilitate having challenging conversations and shared some deliberative processes that hold space for these conversations while contributing toward policy-making.

Finally, I shared a couple of upcoming events with participants, that I encourage you to join in!

  • National Week of Conversation is going on right now until this Saturday, April 28th – join this national movement to improve listening, deepen our connections through conversation, and better heal the divisiveness in our society. Join an event already planned on the National Week of Conversation site here or create your own, maybe using the resources provided on NWOC or right here on the NCDD Resource Center.
  • Our upcoming National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is being held this November 2-4 in Downtown Denver. Our conferences are an exciting mingling of enthusiasts and practitioners in dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work and we encourage you to learn more here.
    • “Super Early Bird” tickets are now available for a limited time, so make sure you act fast to utilize this great low rate by clicking here.
    • The theme for this year’s conference is “Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators”, and our intention is to focus on how we can further uplift dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work; learn more details on the theme here.
    • For folks interested in presenting a session at NCDD2018, the call for proposals is currently open for concurrent sessions – learn more here.

You can watch the full live stream of the workshop in the video below. I’ve also included a link to the resource doc I shared which has the exercises we did, as well as, the resources I referenced – which you can find here.

If you like what you see – NCDD staff would love to come hold a workshop with your group, organization, or event!  We are happy to tailor the workshop to your needs for navigating challenging conversations. I am located in Denver, Managing Director Courtney Breese is in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Co-Founder Sandy Heierbacher is in Boston; all of us can travel to our respective surrounding areas to hold workshops. For folks that are located outside of these places, contact us and let’s see if we can coordinate logistics with travel or technology to make a workshop happen for you! Please contact me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org for workshop inquiries. 

About Colorado Common Cause
Colorado Common Cause is a non-profit organization fighting for open, honest and accountable government. We work to strengthen public participation and to ensure that government and the political process serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.

We believe the serious issues that confront our society – problems like lack of affordable health care and quality education, poverty, discrimination, and global warming – will only be solved when government is responsive to the needs and the voices of its citizens, and not to the pressures of special interests. Partnering with groups representing diverse constituencies, we campaign to break down barriers to voting, ensure every vote is counted as cast, reduce the impact of special interest money in the political process, and promote open government and high ethical standards.

Follow on Twitter at @CommonCauseCO
Connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ColoradoCommonCause

NCDD2018 Call for Session Proposals is Now Open!

NCDD’s 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is coming up this November 2-4 in downtown Denver.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada.

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions for NCDD 2018. We’re interested in finding creative ways to highlight the best of what’s happening in public engagement, group process, community problem-solving, civic tech, and arts-based dialogue — and we know you have lots of ideas!

Check out the Application for Session Leaders now to see what we ask for, and start cooking up those great proposals we’ve come to expect from our network! If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, look over the comments on this blog post, where we asked the NCDD community to share what they’d like to see happen at NCDD 2018, and peruse the fabulous sessions offered at the 2016 and 2014 NCDD conferences.

Please note that the deadline for proposals is Wednesday, May 9th. We look forward to seeing what you’d like to offer!

If your work involves dialogue and deliberation, or you want to get involved with this work, you’ll love this conference. Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing leaders in this field, forming new relationships and reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, hearing about innovative new approaches to the challenges you’re facing, and exploring together how we can shape the future of this important movement, all while using innovative group techniques there’s really nothing like it. (See our 2016 Conference Storify page for quotes and pictures.)

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD 2018…

Our theme for the 2018 conference is Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and we invite workshop proposals that in some way build upon or engage the ideas around this theme.

NCDD 2018 is taking place the weekend before the November midterm elections and these are vital times for using the skills and tools of the dialogue and deliberation community to continue to bring people together. We have heard from so many, both in our field and particularly those unfamiliar with D&D work – how do we come together and talk with each other despite the divisiveness that pervades our society? There are many in our country that are unaware of the D&D field’s work to better engage people and improve democratic processes.

Our goal of the conference is to explore how to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work’s many tools and processes into greater visibility and practice within our society. At the conference, we will dig into how to bring D&D to the more widespread awareness and use by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs of the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

We invite session proposals that will highlight the work being done to tap D&D into the peoples’ daily lives, build democratic participation, and better expose D&D work through the above connections. Your proposal will be evaluated, in part, by its relevance to our theme and goals.

Some advice for potential session leaders:

  1. Identify great co-presenters.  Most workshops at NCDD conferences are collaborative efforts involving multiple presenters from different organizations and universities. Have you thought about who you can co-present with? Now’s the time to contact them to see if they’d like to offer a session with you! (Use the NCDD Main Discussion list and the comments below to put out feelers for potential co-presenters if you’d like.)
  2. Look over past workshop descriptions. Peruse the list of workshops from NCDD Boston to get a sense of the kinds of sessions the planning team selects. Sessions focused on innovative solutions to common challenges, ways to take this work to scale or to new audiences, and deep dives into great projects (and thoughtful explorations of failed projects!) are especially welcome.
  3. Be innovative with your session.  NCDD attendees are usually not too impressed with traditional panels or long speeches. Get them engaging with you and each other! Think about how you can get them out of their seats and moving around the room. And think about what you’d like to learn from them (not just what they can learn from you). Challenge yourself to run a session without relying on PowerPoint.
  4. Share your stories.  NCDDers prefer hearing your stories to getting a run-down of your organization or methodology.  People are interested in learning about what you did, what you learned, and how they may be able to learn from your experience.
  5. Share the latest.  What’s the latest research? What are the latest innovations in the field? What new challenges are you facing? What are your latest accomplishments?

Not quite ready to draw up a proposal yet? Use the comment field (and/or the NCDD Main Discussion listserv) to float your ideas by other NCDDers and members of the planning team. We may be able to match you up with potential co-presenters who can address the same challenge or issue you’re interested in focusing on.

Look over the comments on our engagement of members around what they would like to see at the conference, on the blog and the listserv. There is a wealth of ideas and insight in those results!

Deadline for submissions
To have your session proposal considered, we need you to submit the session application by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 9th. Members of the conference planning team will review the proposals and plan to respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal early June.

Don’t forget that the super early bird tickets are NOW AVAILABLE! Get yours at this great low rate before it goes up!

“Super Early Bird” Rate Now Available for #NCDD2018!

Hey everyone! We are thrilled to announce the “Super Early Bird” registration rate is now live for the upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! This super low rate of $350 is only available for a limited time (through May 30th), so make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot for #NCDD2018 at this great price!

Our conferences only come around every two years, and you won’t want to miss this one! NCDD conferences aren’t just about having fun and enjoying the company of our field’s movers and shakers. They’re about forming new partnerships, strategizing together about how we can tackle our field’s greatest challenges, showcasing some of the coolest arts, technologies, and methods for public engagement — and so much more.

This year we will be coming together from November 2-4 (Friday through Sunday) in Denver, CO, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. We are so excited for NCDD 2018 and hope you will join us! The theme for this year’s conference is “Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators”, and our intention is to focus on how we can further uplift dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work.

NCDD2018: Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators

So much of our political environment is rife with partisan rancor. Our communities are struggling with crisis after crisis. These and other factors have people across the country yearning for the ability to listen to one another with more understanding and civility, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve how we make decisions together and engage in our democracy.

Just what our field specializes in.

So for the 2018 conference, we are making space to dig deep into what we know about helping and healing democracy. Now is the time to bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field into greater visibility and use. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our extended community of practice offers, and we’d like to explore ways to make this work spread. Join us to cultivate its widespread practice in our communities.

At NCDD 2018, we will explore bringing dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to the forefront by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs in the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada. Over 3,000 people, from dozens of countries, have attended our biennial national and regional events, and we’re expecting over 400 this year! Hopefully, you’re one of them!

Learn much more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018, and register today at www.ncdd2018.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Super Early Bird rate.

The call for workshop proposals is coming next week, so think about what you might like to present at the conference as well!

NCDD conferences are important networking and learning events for our field. Watch these highlight videos by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of our last two conferences…

TheChisel Releases the American Dream Survey Results

We are excited to lift up this article from Deborah Devedjian, Founder of TheChisel.com, on the recent results from their “What’s Your American Dream?” survey – and the results might surprise you! One of the biggest highlights they found is that of the 34 issues surveyed, Americans agreed on their #1 goal for 53% of those issues. NCDD was proud to be part of this coalition, in addition to many other organizations, including fellow NCDDers – Living Room ConversationsAllSides, and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original version on PR Newswire’s site here.


Bipartisan Survey Shows Right, Left, and Center Agree on #1 Goal for 53% of 34 Issues

In an era of political divide and confusion, a bipartisan coalition has announced surprising results from its nationwide survey What’s Your American Dream?

“The results demonstrate that despite different vocabularies, favorite news channels, local customs, or professions, Americans maintain many shared values,” said Deborah Devedjian, Founder of TheChisel.com which spearheaded the survey.

Right, Left, and Center agreed on their #1 goal for 53% of 34 issues surveyed. For a further 21% of issues, they shared the same top 2 or 3 goals in varying order.

The survey addressed 7 themes: Economy; Social Justice; Liberty & Regulation; Health, Education & Care; Infrastructure & Services; Foreign Affairs; and Governance.

TheChisel.com’s survey grew out of discussions with former Members of Congress and everyday Americans. All are frustrated with being out of touch with one another. The coalition—30 universities, media outlets, and policy organizations across the political spectrum and the nation—reaches 58 million Americans.

The survey was hosted on TheChisel.com, a unique bipartisan public discussion platform.

“Given partisan stereotypes and soundbites, many commonalities will surprise readers, especially in Employment, Mental Health, Foreign Aid, Campaign Finance, and Elections,” said Erik Fogg, Editor of ReConsider Media.

“The widest divergences were in Guns, Environment, and Police. But even there, we see common ground among pragmatic, compassionate people who want to move the nation forward on American ideals of freedom, prosperity, equality, and security for all,” said Fogg.

Findings will be shared with the media. TheChisel will deliver the report to the President, Cabinet, Members of Congress, Supreme Court, federal agencies, and state governors.

“As a nation, we are frustrated and face uncertainties. We expect this effort will help guide our nation’s leaders to understand Americans’ goals and devise tactics to achieve those goals. It’s time for a new playbook,” said Devedjian.

The book will be released at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on February 27, 2018. Press and lawmakers are invited www.YesWeAgree.Eventbrite.com

The 100-page book features visually-stimulating infographics, is easy to understand, and appeals to a wide audience. Insights from American figures on liberty and freedom and personal comments from respondents add a human voice to the data. To order: www.YesWeAgree.com

Based on 1,318 voting-age Americans reflecting 2016 Census by gender, age, race, geography, income. Respondents self-identified for political affiliation and provided numerical rankings and 5,000+ personal comments.

TheChisel.com is the first and only online civic platform based on 100% bipartisan facts and proposals. No bias. No jargon. And fun, easy-to-understand graphics. Content is developed with recognized experts from both sides of the aisle working together. Our board, advisors, investors, and team reflect America’s full political spectrum. Voice your thoughts, engage with experts, and give your feedback to TheChisel community to realize America’s aspirations.

Universities: Pepperdine School of Public Policy, University of Georgia College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Mary Government and Political Philosophy Department, University of Missouri School of Journalism, University of the Pacific Political Science Department, Williams College Forum.

Media: Associated Collegiate Press, The Citizen’s Story, Exchange Nation, Independent Voter Network, ReConsider.

Organizations: ALL-IN Campus Democracy Challenge, AllSides, Diplomat Books, Future 500, Heartfelt Leadership Institute, Hope Street Group, Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, Living Room Conversations, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, National Speech and Debate Association, ProCon.org, Take Back Our Republic, The Democracy Commitment, The Policy Circle, Wellville, The Women’s Debate.

Sponsors: Gold: Ziggeo. Silver: Collen IP Law; The TAI Group. Bronze: AquaThority Pools & Spas; JGArchitects.

You can find the original version of this article on PR Newswire’s site at www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bipartisan-survey-shows-right-left-and-center-agree-on-1-goal-for-53-of-34-issues-300602892.html.

What would you like to see at NCDD 2018?

NCDD’s staff is in the beginning stages of conference planning, and as we do each conference year, we’d like to hear from the D&D community about what you’d like to see, do and experience at this year’s National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. Over the next twelve days (through March 9th), we’ll be seeking ideas from the NCDD community via email, social media, and the blog.

NCDD conferences look and feel a bit different each year because our events are experiments in collaborative planning, and our planning team is highly responsive to our community’s needs and energy.

NCDD’s national conferences bring together 400+ of our community’s most exciting leaders, innovators, learners, and doers, for an event that enables us not only to network and learn from each other, but to tackle our greatest collective challenges head-on, and to set the direction for our field.

What we cover at our conferences, and how we cover it, is important for this ever-growing, ever-changing field — and we want your input!  Everyone in the NCDD community (members, past conference attendees, subscribers, social media friends) is welcome to participate.

To help you get started, NCDD’s staff and board would like to share some of our thoughts with you and get some feedback. We notice that with the extreme partisan rancor of our current political environment, coupled with the continuous tragedies around gun violence and so much more – has many in this country calling for the need to be able to better listen to each other with more understanding and civility, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve the way people engage in democracy.

Just what our field specializes in.

So for the 2018 conference, we think making space at this year’s conference to dig deep into how we can bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field out from what seems like the “fringes” and into greater visibility and use. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our field works on, and we’d like to explore the ways in which we can further make this work commonplace and bring it into widespread practice. We’d like to hear from you whether this resonates, and what ideas you might have for how we might explore this together.

We’re also seeking more ideas. As you consider our intentionally broad framing question, “What would you like to see happen at NCDD 2018?”, think about…

  • What do you think about the idea above?
  • What topics would you like to see covered?
  • What ideas do you have for awesome activities?
  • What would you like to contribute to this year’s event?
  • What could we do this year that might improve your work?
  • What could we do that would help us move the field forward?
  • What can we do while we’re together that we can’t easily do virtually?
  • Dream big, or be specific… it’s all good!

Please share your responses to these questions in the comments below, via our discussion listserv, and on social media.

If you’re interested in playing a role at the conference, helping with planning, or just attending, be sure to fill out our interest form for NCDD 2018, too!

We’re excited to hear your ideas and to get working on putting together another great conference!