Key Lessons on Community-Police Relations from APV2017

Last week, NCDD member orgs the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute hosted the 2017 “A Public Voice” forum that convened D&D practitioners with congressionl staff to talk about how to improve community-police relations. For those of you who couldn’t tune in to the livestream of the event, we wanted to share this insightful write up of the event’s highlights from our friends at Everyday Democracy below. We encourage you to read their piece below or find the original here. And if you’d like to watch the whole 90-minute recording of APV 2017, you can find links to it here.


A Public Voice 2017: Safety & Justice

EvDem LogoHighly-publicized police shootings, especially of unarmed black boys and men, have highlighted a national crisis of public safety and justice. These devastations lead us to ask how we can reduce crime as well as police violence, and how we can balance security and liberty. The National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) recently published a Safety & Justice guide and is moderating forums throughout the country to help people grapple with these issues and work towards solutions.

“A Public Voice,” the Kettering Foundation and NIFI’s “annual exploration of public thinking on key issues,” held on May 9 in Washington, D.C., provided the opportunity for Kettering to share with policymakers their insights from the 150 Safety & Justice forums held so far. Senior Associate Leslie King represented Everyday Democracy.

In his opening address, David Mathews, President of the Kettering Foundation, declared “There is no one in this city, no matter how important they are, that can answer questions of judgement – we have to do that.” He characterized the event as part of the work to bridge divides between the people and the government of America.

At tabletop discussions, NIFI moderators, deliberative practitioners, Congressional staffers and federal officials discussed how people are thinking and talking about issues of safety and justice. Those watching the livestream of the event had the chance to listen in to one of those discussions. Read on for insights from the conversation.

A policing perspective

“We in policing have to demystify policing,” one participant remarked, and went on to describe a 70 year-old woman who only just learned about the concept of community policing after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. Part of demystifying the profession, according to him, requires acknowledging when someone has done wrong – otherwise, he said, the public assumes what police are thinking.

Talking about Safety & Justice leads to conversations about, and capacity to address, other issues

Leslie King pointed out that in dialogues about community-police relations, participants invariably end up talking about related issues such as employment, housing, and education. Having dialogues and organizing around community-police relations, she added, ends up building community capacity to deal with other issues. Community members realize they have agency and that government officials can’t simply dictate solutions.

People want to address root causes

In an online Safety & Justice forum, a representative from Kettering shared that the most-agreed-upon point was the need to invest more in education in communities with high rates of crime. He saw this as evidence of people’s desire to address root causes of violence and crime.

Gail Kitch, who serves on the NIFI’s board, reported on common themes from the initial Safety & Justice forums. These included:

  • People feel we urgently need to increase understanding and mutual respect between police and people of color. Popular suggestions for achieving this included police making connections with youth, and police going through cultural and racial bias trainings.
  • Participants took responsibility for the issue. Many identified community building and improving relationships within the community as tools to reduce crime.
  • Many expressed the belief that it is unsustainable for police to deal with mental illness and drug-related issues.
  • People expressed a desire to address root problems such as unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

In closing, Mathews described Kettering’s work as “awakening the capacities of people to deliberate with one another.” He left participants and viewers with a challenge he called daunting, but not hopeless: “to build on what grows” – a quote he credited to J. Herman Blake. Every person has the capacity for good judgement, he said — the job of people in the deliberative field, then, must be to nurture that ability.

You can find the original version of this Everyday Democracy blog post at www.everyday-democracy.org/news/public-voice-2017-safety-justice.

Tune into “A Public Voice” Safety & Justice Event Tomorrow!

We want to remind the NCDD network – especially those of you focused on community-police dialogue – to tune in live to the 2017 “A Public Voice” event tomorrow, May 9th from 1:30 -3pm Eastern via Facebook Live.

APV2017 Facebook Event

“A Public Voice” is the annual event that the Kettering Foundation and National Issues Forums Institute – both NCDD member orgs – host every year to bring public input on policy straight to Washington DC. This year’s APV forum will be a working meeting with Congressional staff about the results of the numerous forums on safety and community-police relationships that NIFI, many NCDD members, and other D&D organizations hosted this year using NIFI’s Safety & Justice issue guide.

They will be streaming the live event tomorrow on Facebook Live, and we encourage our network to join the broadcast, not just to watch, but to send in your questions, comments, and other feedback that will be incorporated directly into the event!

Don’t miss this important discussion! You can sign up for a reminder and find the link to the live feed on May 9th in the APV 2017 Facebook event or learn more at www.apublicvoice.org.

Join Kettering’s “A Public Voice” Event on Safety & Justice

In case you haven’t heard about it already, we want to encourage all of you in the NCDD network to mark your calendars for A Public Voice 2017 (APV) on Tuesday, May 9th from 1:30-3pm Eastern.

APV 2017 is the annual event hosted by NCDD member organizations the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute that brings together Congressional and agency staffers in Washington DC for a working meeting on the results of the deliberative forums that KF and NIFI have hosted across the nation on pressing public policy issues.

This year’s APV forum will focus on what was learned about the public’s feelings on community-police relations during the Safety & Justice forums held this year in communities across the country. And KF and NIFI will be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live, so you are invited to particiapte by sending your comments on social media directly into the program.

Here’s how they describe the event:

At this year’s A Public Voice event in Washington, we’re trying something new. We will introduce congressional staffers to NIF forum convenors from their districts, and those convenors will explain the most unique and transformational moments from the deliberative forums in their communities. Our aim is to illustrate the unique value of these forums and the breadth of the network.

Which means, WE NEED YOU. Put May 9 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on your calendar, because we’ll be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live.

We encourage our network to join the APV event on Facebook to get updates as the event nears and share about it with your networks. You can learn more about A Public Voice 2017 by visiting www.apublicvoice.org and checking out NIFI’s Safety & Justice deliberative forum discussion guide here.

Winner of the 2017 Taylor L. Willingham Award Announced

Every year, the National Issues Forums Institute – one of our NCDD member orgs – gives out the Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Award in support of people advancing the work of deliberative democracy and in honor of the memory of our friend Taylor and her work in the field. We invite you to join us in congratulationg Lauren Gabbard of Kentucky who won the 2017 award. You can read more about Lauren’s work and the award in the NIFI announcement below or find the original here.


Lauren Gabbard is Recipient of Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Fund Award

Lauren Gabbard, an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Kentucky Campus Compact, is the 2017 recipient of the Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Award. She is developing an understanding of deliberative democracy and plans to moderate four forums in 2017. She is also helping to build the capacity for a statewide democratic deliberation movement in Kentucky, called the Kentucky Network for Public Life. Read on to learn more about Lauren and her plans.

Lauren Gabbard is an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Kentucky Campus Compact. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Northern Kentucky University. Lauren’s dedication to community, justice, and diversity motivated her to serve with AmeriCorps, where she is currently working on a statewide democratic deliberation movement called the Kentucky Network for Public Life.

Lauren developed a passion for democratic deliberation after attending the 2016 West Virginia Civic Life Institute. As a young leader and activist, she connected with the idea of engaging community members to have conversations and take active roles in shaping their future together. As a queer woman, Lauren especially values the way dialogue can be used to discuss issues within oppressed communities and with the wider community to build relationships.

As the recipient of the Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Fund award, Lauren plans to moderate four dialogues in the coming months. She is partnering with Dr. Tracy Lu, of the University of Kentucky, and her Hospitality and Event Management students to host the first three “What’s Next, Kentucky?” conversations. Members of the campus and community will meet to discuss Kentucky’s future, considering three main questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there? Lauren also plans to moderate a National Issues Forum at Northern Kentucky University this spring. These conversations are all part of the statewide initiative to support dialogue and deliberation, the Kentucky Network for Public Life.

If you’d like more information about the Kentucky Network for Public Life or “What’s Next, Kentucky?” you can reach Lauren at Lauren.Gabbard@kycompact.org.

You can find the original version of this NIFI blog post at www.nifi.org/en/lauren-gabbard-recipient-taylor-l-willingham-legacy-fund-award.

Participate in DC-Area Moderator Training for Higher Ed

We encourage our DC-area NCDD members in higher ed – students, faculty, and staff – to consider attending a training for deliberative dialogue moderators this April 29. The training is hosted by the American Democracy ProjectThe Democracy Commitment and the Kettering Foundation in preparation for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting on June 9 in Baltimore, which we also encourage our NCDD higher ed folks to attend. You can read more in ADP’s announcement below or find the original version here.


Deliberative Dialogue Moderator Training Workshop in Washington, DC

AASCU’s American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment, in partnership with the Kettering Foundation, are proud to announce a special professional development opportunity for area students, faculty, and staff interested in a moderator training for deliberative dialogues.

We will be hosting a Deliberative Dialogue Moderator Training Workshop on Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 10am – 2pm at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), 1307 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Hosts:

  • Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, American Democracy Project National Manager, AASCU
  • Verdis LeVar Robinson, National Director, The Democracy Commitment

Trainers:

  • John R. Dedrick, Vice President and Program Director, Kettering Foundation
  • Kara Lindaman, Professor of Political Science/Public Administration, Winona State University (Minn.)
  • William Muse, President Emeritus, National Issues Forum Institute
  • John J. Theis, Director of the Center For Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (TX)

Democratic dialogue and deliberation build civic capacities and consciences to tackle the highly salient and most complex wicked problems facing communities today. It rejects the expert model of technical expertise and specialization towards a truly democratic framework of accessibility and empowerment.

The practice of dialogue and deliberation cultivates student abilities necessary to explore enduring and multidisciplinary questions and solve persistent public problems. Thus, the capacities necessary for productive and meaningful dialogue and deliberation – critical thinking, empathic listening, creative problem solving, ethical leadership, collaboration, issue framing – are not only essential for sustaining a vibrant democracy, they are the best preparation for our students/citizens/graduates to be successful in the 21st century.

This training will guarantee your eligibility to be a moderator at our 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting’s Dialogue and Deliberation Plenary Session: ” Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?” on Friday, June 9, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Please join us for this free training by registering HERE by Friday, March 31, 2017.  Lunch will be provided. Click here for the tentative agenda.

For questions and more information, please contact Verdis L. Robinson at robinsonv@aascu.org or (202) 476-4656.

You can find the original version of this announcement from The Democracy Committment at www.thedemocracycommitment.org/deliberative-dialogue-moderator-training-workshop-washington-dc.

How Should We Reduce Obesity in America? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The issue guide, How Should We Reduce Obesity in America?, was published on National Issues Forums Institute site in Spring 2017. This issue guide gives three options for participants to deliberate around the issue of obesity in the US. In addition to the issue guide, there is a moderator’s guide and a post-forum questionnaire, all available to download on NIFI’s site here.

From the guide…

Obesity is a health problem that is growing rapidly in the United States and other parts of the world. In this country, it is epidemic. About one in three Americans is obese.

It may be natural for people to gain at least a little weight later in life. But that is no longer the issue. The problem today is that by the time American children reach their teens, nearly one in five is already obese, a condition all too likely to continue into adulthood.

This issue guide asks: How should we reduce obesity in America? It presents three different options for deliberation, each rooted in something held widely valuable and representing a different way of looking at the problem. No one option is the “correct” one, and each option includes drawbacks and trade-offs that we will have to face if we are to make progress on this issue. The options are presented as a starting point for deliberation.

Option One: “Help People Lose Weight”
Take a proactive stance in helping people lose weight— persuasion and education by families and doctors, and the establishment of consequences by employers and insurance companies. Losing weight is a personal decision but it is one that affects all of us.

Option Two: “Improve the Way Our Food Is Produced and Marketed”
Although our food system does a good job of keeping the cost of food low, many of the resulting products are both very unhealthy and very enticing. We need to get better control of our food production system, including how foods are marketed to us, and ensure more equitable access to healthy foods.

Option Three: “Create a Culture of Healthy Living and Eating”
This option would promote overall, lifelong wellness by making sure our children start learning to make better choices as early as possible. This option also calls for reshaping our neighborhoods and buildings to help us get more exercise.

Continue reading

New Kettering Publication on Engagement & Higher Ed

We want to encourage our members in higher education to check out the newest version of the Higher Education Exchange, a free annual publication from NCDD member organization the Kettering Foundation. The Exchange explores important and timely themes around the public mission of colleges and universities and offers reflections from both domestic and international scholar-practitioners on how higher education can and must shift toward teaching deliberation and civic engagement. We highly recommend it. You can learn more about the 2016 edition in the Kettering announcement below or find the full downloadable version here.


Higher Education Exchange 2016

This annual publication serves as a forum for new ideas and dialogue between scholars and the larger public. Essays explore ways that students, administrators, and faculty can initiate and sustain an ongoing conversation about the public life they share.

The Higher Education Exchange is founded on a thought articulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1820: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”

In the tradition of Jefferson, the Higher Education Exchange agrees that a central goal of higher education is to help make democracy possible by preparing citizens for public life. The Higher Education Exchange is part of a movement to strengthen higher education’s democratic mission and foster a more democratic culture throughout American society.

Working in this tradition, the Higher Education Exchange publishes interviews, case studies, analyses, news, and ideas about efforts within higher education to develop more democratic societies. The Exchange is edited by David W. Brown and Deborah Witte.

  • Foreword by Deborah Witte  (PDF)
  • Inside the Graduate School Mess: An Interview by Leonard Cassuto  (PDF)
  • Assumptions, Variables, and Ignorance by David Brown  (PDF)
  • Deliberation and Institutional Political Cultures: A Brazilian Perspective by Telma Gimenez  (PDF)
  • An Island of Deliberation in an Authoritarian Environment: The Case of Russia by Denis V. Makarov  (PDF)
  • Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next-Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education, Edited by Margaret A. Post, Elaine Ward, Nicholas V. Longo, and John Saltmarsh by Etana Jacobi  (PDF)
  • Afterword: Citizens in a Global Society by David Mathews  (PDF)

You can find the original announcement of this Kettering Foundation publication at www.kettering.org/catalog/product/hex-2016.

End of Life: What Should We Do for Those Who Are Dying? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The 23-page issue guide, End of Life: What Should We Do for Those Who Are Dying?, written by National Issues Forums Institute and published on their site on November 2016. This issue guide provides three options for deliberation for participants to explore end-of-life decisions, as people are able to live longer and options for “right to die” become possibilities; what is best for those who are dying? In addition to the issue guide, there is a moderator’s guide and a post-forum questionnaire, all available to download on NIFI’s site here.

From NIFI…

What ought to be done at the end of life is both a personal and public decision. As our population ages, it is becoming a matter of great concern for the entire nation. Diseases that would have been death sentences a few decades ago are now often treatable.

This guide explores end-of-life decisions and examines options and trade-offs inherent in this sensitive and universal issue. Medical advances make it more likely that we will care for relatives in their final days, facing decisions regarding their illnesses or death—as well as our own. Even those who never face such choices will pay for them through tax dollars and the cost of insurance premiums. And as more states consider passing “right-to-die” laws similar to the one that took effect in Oregon in 1997, this debate may become a local one.

Under most circumstances, end-of-life decisions remain difficult and uncomfortable. A Consumer Reports survey found that 86 percent of those polled wanted to die at home. But fewer than half of the respondents over age 65 had living wills detailing their dying wishes, leaving them at the mercy of hospitals and stressed-out families forced to decide on their behalf. In 1990, the US Supreme Court affirmed an individual’s “right to die.” Later, in 1997, the court upheld New York and Washington state laws banning physician-assisted death, leaving it for individual states to decide their legality. These rulings established legal precedence for a national conversation.

This issue guide asks: What should society allow, and support, at the end of life? It presents three different ways of looking at the problem and suggests possible actions appropriate to each.

Option One: “Maintain Quality of Life”
That means when continued efforts to keep terminally ill patients alive a few more days or weeks result in needless pain and suffering, life-support treatment should be discontinued. At that point, caregiving efforts should be devoted to keeping patients comfortable and pain free.

Option Two: “Preserve Life at All Costs”
Do everything we can to prevent death. This means sparing no expense to extend the lives of those who are sick. It should be difficult for doctors to give up on patients, and the end must not be brought about by deliberate medical neglect or intervention. Right-to-die laws must be repealed.

Option Three: “My Right, My Choice”
The freedoms we value so highly in choosing how we live should not be taken away from us at the end of our lives. People should have the right to end their own lives and to enlist their doctors in helping them to die when a terminal illness leaves nothing to look forward to but higher levels of pain and suffering.

Preview the trailer for this issue guide’s starter video above and buy the video and full issue guide on NIFI’s site here.

NIF-Logo2014About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/end-life

NIFI Hosts 10 Online Community-Police Relations Forums

In addition to offering free copies of their new Safety & Justice discussion guide on community-police relations, the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member org – is also hosting ten online forums to discuss the issue using their Common Ground for Action online deliberation tool, including two training webinars for prospective forum hosts. We encourage those in our network focusing on related issues to consider joining the forums or the training. You can learn more about the CGA forums in the NIFI announcement below or find the original here.


Common Ground for Action 2017 Forum Series

The Common Ground for Action (CGA) Forums Series is Back!

The 2016 CGA Fridays were a huge hit. Demand for trying the new platform and giving our network of moderators more practice was so high that we’re back at it for 2017. This winter, we will have a CGA forum each week, with some in the evening and Saturdays so more of our network can join in. If you’re a CGA moderator and want practice or a refresher workshop, we’ve got those too.

In February, the CGA Forum Series will be using the NEW Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? issue guide. These forums will be part of our 2017 series of reports to policymakers on how people are thinking about issues.

  • Friday, February 3rd 12:00pm EST – Register
  • Friday, February 10th 4pm EST – Register
  • Wednesday, February 15th 7pm EST- Register
  • Tuesday, February 21st 10am EST – Register
  • Saturday, February 25th 4pm EST – Register
  • Monday, February 27th 2pm EST – Register
  • Saturday, March 4th 4pm EST – Register
  • Friday, March 10th 12pm EST – Register
  • Monday, March 13th 2:30pm EST – Register

NIF member Kara Dillard is also leading a webinar specifically about the Safety and Justice issue guide for moderators who want to hold CGA forums. Kara says the online prep session will “discuss each of the three options in depth, outline key questions to ask in the personal stake sections as well as in the options, and consider ways to help your participants reflect on this controversial topic.”

The workshop will be offered twice in February; you can register at the links below.

You can find the original version of this National Issues Forums Institute blog post at www.nifi.org/en/youre-invited-online-forums-and-moderator-webinars-choose-dates-february-and-march.

Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The 28-page issue guide, Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?, written by Tony Wharton was published on National Issues Forums Institute site on January 2017. This issue guide provides three options for deliberation around how communities should address the violence within their communities. In addition to the issue guide, there is a moderator’s guide and a post-forum questionnaire, all available to download for free on NIFI’s site here.

From NIFI…

After falling steadily for decades, the rate of violent crime in the United States rose again in 2015 and 2016. Interactions between citizens and police too often end in violence. People are increasingly worried about safety in their communities.

Many Americans are concerned that something is going on with violence in communities, law enforcement, and race that is undermining the national ideals of safety and justice for all.

It is unclear what is driving the recent rise in violence, but bias and distrust on all sides appear to be making the problem worse. Citizens and police need goodwill and cooperation in order to ensure safety and justice. For many people of color, the sense that they are being treated unfairly by law enforcement—and even being targeted by police—is palpable. Others say police departments are being blamed for the actions of a few individuals and that the dangers, stress, and violence law enforcement officers face in their work is underestimated. Still others hold that if we cannot find ways to defuse potentially violent interactions between citizens and police, we will never be able to create safe communities in which all people can thrive and feel welcomed and comfortable.

How should we ensure that Americans of every race and background are treated with respect and fairness? What should we do to ensure that the police have the support they need to fairly enforce the law? To what degree do racial and other forms of bias distort the justice system? What should we do as citizens to help reduce violence of all kinds in our communities and the nation as a whole? How should communities increase safety while at the same time ensuring justice? This issue guide is a framework for citizens to work through these important questions together. It offers three different options for deliberation, each rooted in different, widely shared concerns and different ways of looking at the problem. The resulting conversation may be difficult, as it will necessarily involve tensions between things people hold deeply valuable, such as a collective sense of security, fair treatment for everyone, and personal freedom. No one option is the “correct” one; each includes drawbacks and trade-offs that we will have to face if we are to make progress on this issue. They are not the only options available. They are presented as a starting point for deliberation.This issue guide presents three options for deliberation:

Option One: “Enforce the Law Together”
Expand policing while strengthening community-police partnerships. According to this option, residents and police officers in every community should focus on working together in ways that ensure that everyone feels safe. Americans should be able to expect that they can go about their daily lives, taking reasonable precautions, without becoming the victims of violence.

Option Two: “Apply the Law Fairly”
Remove injustices, reform inequities, and improve accountability. This option says that all Americans should be treated equitably, but that too often, some people are treated unfairly due to systemic bias throughout the criminal justice system and, in many cases, the way police go about their work.

Option Three: “De-escalate and prevent violence”
Address the causes of violence and take direct actions to disrupt conflict. BY ANY MEASURE, the United States is far more violent than other large developed nations. While violent crime has declined over the past decades, there is still far too much day-to-day violence, and the threat of it, in many communities. Many US cities have more murders than much larger countries. 

NIF-Logo2014About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/catalog/product/free-safety-and-justice-issue-guide-downloadable-pdf