Next Stage Facilitation Intensive Feb. 23-25 in the Bay Area!

We are pleased to share the announcement below about a new facilitation training opportunity in this February that NCDD members can get a $150 discount on! NCDD Sustaining Member Rebecca Colwell of Ten Directions shared this announcement via our Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

Integral Facilitator® Next Stage Facilitation™ Intensives are 3-day workshops introducing the core competencies of an Integral approach to facilitation designed to enhance your capacity to generate greater coherence and increased collaboration and dialogue in the groups you work with.

In this three-day workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How to maintain presence in the face of challenging situations
  • How to work effectively with group energetics and emotional states
  • How to effectively build connection and working with tension to deepen coherence and intimacy
  • How to engage tension, power dynamics and conflict in a group
  • How to increase the positive impact you have on others
  • How to bring an integral approach to your work

As a Next Stage participant, you’ll learn directly from master facilitator, mediator, and former Director of Dispute Resolution for the Utah State Judiciary, Diane Musho Hamilton. Diane is author of Everything is Workable, a Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution.

Your participation will include a deep dive into your personal presence as a facilitator, including how bring an Integral approach to your work with groups, and opportunities to practice new approaches that will stretch your development as a skilled facilitator. Masterful facilitators with depth and presence are more responsive to the subtleties of group dynamics and can create more rewarding and effective dialogue and collaboration.

Two Next Stage Facilitation Intensives will be taking place in North America this year, February 23-25 in the Bay Area, CA, and in Halifax, Canada September 12-14, 2016.

Sign up for an upcoming Integral Facilitator Next Stage Facilitation Intensive and use NCDD coupon “NCDDmbrs” for $150 off the February training at

Praise from workshop participants:

“The workshop has shifted my perception of issues such as power, and allowed me to understand where my choices lie. I feel confident to run with those issues now as opposed to fighting against them and using up all my energy.” – Marissa Moore, Senior Finance Executive

“This has been my best experience ever in a 3 day training. Diane is an amazing facilitator! I’m currently figuring out how to get myself in the 1 year program as the 3 days were so exciting and promising in terms of my personal growth.” – Tremeur Balbous, Consultant & Integral coach

“Take facilitation to a whole other level. The Next Stage Facilitation three day intensive shakes you out of conventional and stifled facilitation modes and expands your view to multi-perspectival, grows your competencies toward integral–exploring what it means to work with individuals, the collective and the topic at hand in a balanced, elegant and effective way, and, it strengthens your intuitive faculties to sense and trust the energetic field of the room and respond.” – Michelle Elizabeth, Consultant

Watch Integral Facilitator’s Lead Teacher and Author, Diane Musho Hamilton’s Google Book Talk on conflict resolution:

For more information, visit

the pantomime of the Democratic primary, or the choices that actually confront the next president

The first question in Sunday’s Democratic primary debate was: “President Obama came to office determined to swing for the fences on health care reform. Voters want to know how you would define your presidency? How would you think big? So complete this sentence: in my first 100 days in office, my top three priorities will be — fill in the blank.”

All three candidates answered as they had been encouraged to, by describing grand changes in society that would require legislation to accomplish. None mentioned that conservatives have almost a 100% chance of controlling the House, the judiciary, and most states.

I wouldn’t criticize their approach to answering the question. If they had stuck to politically realistic answers, they would have allowed the other party to narrow the scope of discussion and debate. Also, it was illuminating to understand the differences that emerged when the candidates discussed legislation. For instance, are the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank hard-won and fragile victories to be protected with strongly affirmative rhetoric (Clinton), or mere promissory notes demanding to be redeemed with better laws (Sanders)? Are almost all political dysfunctions traceable to campaign money (Sanders), or could skillful leadership within the current system improve things (Clinton)? Finally, it would have been defeatist for these candidates to offer realistic plans for their first 100 days. That would have undercut progressives’ efforts to win down-ballot races and would have converted a prediction into a self-fulfilling prophesy. In other words, it would have been bad leadership.

And yet, as someone deciding which candidate to choose, I am interested in what each candidate would actually do in office (as well as the more pressing question: Who has a better chance of beating the Republican nominee?). At least in the first two years, they would be able to do virtually none of the things they proposed in the debate. Any of them would veto assaults on the Affordable Care Act and negotiate a budget deal that retains most of the status quo. But some choices would confront them:

What unilateral foreign policy decisions to make. This is the area where Congress has–perhaps unfortunately–the least scope, although the national security apparatus has a great deal of say, and it’s not clear that the president really does decide. Dovish progressives have a hard choice in ’16, because Clinton has a hawkish record and Sanders has no experience managing the military and security agencies.

What legislation to propose to Congress first. Three options to send to the Hill are: 1) Widely popular but small-bore bills that can pass and establish a record of accomplishment. 2) Wedge issues: bills designed to catch the House Republicans between their constituents’ opinions and their party orthodoxy. Or 3) grand visions of alternative health or justice systems. These would fail but could possibly alter the terms of public debate. It’s a hard choice.

What executive orders to issue. Note that President Obama seems intent on using that authority to its full in his final year, and he may not leave a lot of attractive options for his successor.

Whom to nominate for a wide range of offices. Within many domains of policy, a Democrat has genuine choices. For instance, she or he could nominate an education reformer enamored of metrics, accountability, and competition (continuing the status quo) or switch to someone who prefers to give teachers autonomy and resources. There is plenty of room within the legislative framework of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to push in either direction. In the economic agencies, there is a choice between mollifying Wall Street and the markets or regulating them aggressively.

In making appointments, the president also gets to choose leaders with a range of personal profiles. Any Democratic president will look for racial and gender diversity, but how to weigh ideological, religious, generational, and regional diversity? Should most cabinet secretaries have extensive experience as CEOs of large bureaucracies so that they can run things smoothly, or should they be thinkers and advocates?

I enjoy the debate about long-term directions for progressive politics and the nation, but we should probably ask the candidates how they will resolve the decisions that they will actually face.

The Greatest History Lessons Are Those We Have Yet to Learn

The article written by Jessica DeBruin, The Greatest History Lessons Are Those We Have Yet to Learn, was published August 2015 on Everyday Democracy‘s site. DeBruin shares some of her history, how it shaped her identity, and explores how our identities play out in our conversations and realities. She emphasizes the importance genuinely listening and participating in conversations where we explore the intersections of our own privilege and oppression. Below is an excerpt from the article and read it in full on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

From the article… 

…There is a notion of being “all talk.” In truth, many actions must be taken to move us forward as a society. Humanity exists on the threads of a tapestry being woven, ever in motion. We may skip a stitch occasionally, or unravel bits of progress, but it is only through collaboration that we may continue. No one thread is more vital to the weaving. Likewise, there are many ways to take action. Some seek political recourse, some take to the streets, some create art, some tell stories, and we all talk.

In this arena I have found a useful application for the intersection of my privilege and my experience as a woman of color. At my core I am a storyteller, and that is just what I do. I can take all my experiences, all the confusion and micro-aggressions, and form them into something meaningful. Over the years I have seen subtle shifts in the attitudes of some of my white friends regarding race and, while I certainly do not take credit for the shift, I know that maintaining a relationship in which we talk about the hard stuff contributes to forming a habit of critical thinking.

I recall a conversation I had recently with a white, straight, cismale coworker of mine. In many ways he has what might be considered the trifecta of social privilege. And yet his nose crinkled in discomfort at the word. He quite earnestly expressed that he didn’t feel this had ever given him any undue advantage in life.

So we chatted about that.

I shared my perspective that privilege is not always about what is given to you, but often about what is not taken from you. Things like the ability to walk safely in public seem like something that should be a given in the United States in 2015, and yet a significant portion of the population does not take that privilege for granted.

When we finished our conversation he thanked me. He had never thought to see the world that way, frankly because he had never had to. As a queer, multi-ethnic woman I have no choice but to consider these things.

We both learned from each other: He left the conversation with insight into a different way of existing in the world. I left it with a better understanding of the ways in which our own privilege is truly a blind spot.

Conversations like these are vital to moving ideas forward.

In critically examining our place in the world and speaking truthfully about our experiences, we make small shifts to guide the direction of our broader cultural discourse. It starts with listening, really listening; the kind of listening that sends a prickle up your spine. Any democracy must be based first on our ability to listen, and then on the gumption to speak with honesty.

Yes, it will be uncomfortable. No individual is entirely privileged or oppressed, and learning your own privilege can be unnerving.

In school we learn that we earn what we have. The rags to riches mythology of extreme economic and social mobility has become a basic tenant of American society. Learning that hard work is not always enough for those who lack privilege can unsettle our sense of self. We want to believe that if and when we have good things it is because we have earned them. But this discomfort is productive if we can allow ourselves to sit with it. Indeed if we are not prepared to dismantle our assumptions about our place in the world, we have not truly learned our instrument.

Human beings possess one of the greatest privileges of all – the ability to intricately and meaningfully exchange ideas. This exchange of ideas has been essential to our advancement as a species. Through everyday conversations I have learned to appreciate the world from multiple perspectives, and I believe that has advanced me as an individual. It has helped me find the small actions I can take in my life to make this the kind of world I can be proud to be a part of.

The greatest history lessons I have ever learned are the testimony of so many remarkable individuals, each with their own set of experiences. The greatest history lessons are those I have yet to learn.

About Jessica DeBruin
Jessica is a writer and actress living in Los Angeles, dedicated to creating feminist, queer-inclusive art and media. Follow on Twitter: @JessicaLaVerdad

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools. Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link:

What I Learned About Populism From the Civil Rights Movement

Coming back to the U.S. after time in South Africa, anger in the election is like a blast furnace. I'm also struck by the widespread use of populism as a framework of analysis.

"Trump and Sanders: Different Candidates with a Populist Streak," reported Chuck Todd on NBC News. Most reporters and commentators use "populism" to mean inflammatory rhetoric. Thus Jonathan Goldberg, writing in the National Review, argues Trump and Sanders are "Two Populist Peas in a Pod" stirring up "millions of people [who] are convinced that the system is rigged against them."

I learned in the civil rights movement that populism can be something very different. Great populist movements, from farmers' cooperatives of the 1880s to the popular movements of the Great Depression, embodied a politics of people's power that disciplined anger into a force for constructive change. In the process people gained the sense that they were making a democratic way of life, creating a sense of ownership and responsibility for the whole. Today, in contrast, many see democracy like a vending machine - and they don't like what they're getting.

Martin Luther King told me he identified with such populism in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964. Discussing possibilities for engaging poor whites as allies, he asked if I would try community organizing. As a result, I organized among Southern mill workers in Durham, North Carolina, from 1966 to 1972. We had some success in crossing the racial divide.

Stretched out in a sleeping bag on the floor in my father's hotel room in Washington in the early hours of August 28, 1963, I heard King practice "I Have a Dream" in the room next door. My father had just gone on staff of King's organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

In "I Have a Dream," King strikes the prophetic note for which he is remembered. "There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights," King said. "The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges." The moral power of the movement reaches into our time. "We are citizens of a country that we still have to create -- a just country, a compassionate country, a forgiving country, a multiracial, multi-religious country," said King's friend and colleague, the late Vincent Harding in 2012.

Like other SCLC leaders, King's moral vision was held in tension with keen political insight, a combination now largely forgotten. In "The Drum Major Instinct," delivered February 4, 1968, King challenged those who condemn James and John for their request, recounted in the tenth chapter of Mark, to sit at Jesus' left and right hands in heaven. King said:

Why would they make such a selfish request? Before we condemn them too quickly, let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance. There is deep down within all of us kind of a drum major instinct -- a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first.

King drew on his understanding of the complexity of human motivation to describe white prison guards.

When we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens [came to] the cell to talk about the race problem. We got to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. You're just as poor as Negroes! You are supporting your oppressor. The same forces that oppress Negroes oppress poor white people."

This capacity to understand the interests of even one's enemies was central to savvy politics that creates power. This took shape at the grassroots, in what the historian Charles Payne calls "organizing" strands of the movement. Payne's I've Got the Light of Freedom describes how activists distinguished between mobilizing and organizing. While the former, the politics of protest, included marches, Freedom Rides, and sit-ins, grassroots organizing also took place in communities on a large scale. For instance SCLC's Citizenship Education Program, CEP, directed by Dorothy Cotton, trained more than 8,000 people from 1961 to 1968 in skills of nonviolence and community organizing. They returned to communities and trained tens of thousands more.

The vision of CEP, drafted by Septima Clark, an early leader, was to "broaden the scope of democracy to include everyone and deepen the concept to include every relationship." This broadening transformed identities from victims to agents of change, a story Cotton tells in If Your Back's Not Bent: The Role of the Citizenship Education Program in the Civil Rights Movement. "People who had lived for generations with a sense of impotence, with a consciousness of anger and victimization, now knew in no uncertain terms that if things were going to change, they themselves had to change them."

Payne stresses the politics involved. "Above all else [the organizing experience] stressed a developmental style of politics, one in which the important thing was the development of efficacy of those most affected by a problem." This meant that "whether a community achieved this or that tactical objective was likely to matter less than whether the people in it came to see themselves as having the right and the capacity to have some say--so in their own lives."

I learned such politics at Duke as a college student working in support of maids and janitors who were organizing a union. Oliver Harvey, the janitor who led the effort, constantly told me that while moral passion is necessary, sober politics is also crucial -- and not the same as righteousness.

As I described in a talk in 1998 at Duke, Harvey framed the issue of the union in ways that called everyone to account. "Until there is neutral arbitration of these grievances...[we] have no job security, no dignity, no chance of becoming employees who share in the goal to make this a great and quality institution," Harvey said in a debate about changing the university's grievance procedure.

Workers claimed responsibility for making Duke a "great and quality institution." Harvey, Hattie Williams and others asserted that their work contributed powerfully, if invisibly, to students' learning and the mission of the institution. Duke did not become a democracy university. But during my years there, those associated with the effort, or even simply on campus -- faculty, students, staff, administrators -- rose to a higher level of public engagement.

Focus on making a "great and quality institution" called forth better thinking, livelier teaching, more probing questions, more student engagement in education. Classrooms came alive. A never-ending argument moved across the campus about civil rights, democracy, and education that shaped lives of countless participants. The organizing also won recognition for the union.

The movement's politics of empowerment has been largely forgotten today. While Trump and Sanders tap anger, they express it in radically different ways. Trump employs a politics of scapegoating. Sanders, with roots in the civil rights movement, conveys the inclusive, egalitarian ethic of Judaism, as Margaret Talbot describes in "The Populist Prophet" in the New Yorker.

His campaign conveys something of the politics of empowerment. But it will take everyone to make a politics of empowerment come to life, in schools, colleges, and communities, as well as the election.

This was originally published in