Everyday Democracy's Approach to Change and Website Tour
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Everyday Democracy's Approach to Change and Website Tour



Everyday Democracy helps communities build their own capacity for inclusive dialogue and positive change. Everyday Democracy’s ultimate aim is to create a national civic infrastructure that supports ...

Everyday Democracy helps communities build their own capacity for inclusive dialogue and positive change. Everyday Democracy’s ultimate aim is to create a national civic infrastructure that supports and values everyone’s voice and participation.

In this presentation, learn more about what Everyday Democracy does, hear about what we've learned over the years, hear some stories of our work, and get a tour of our new website.



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  • Need pic of Malik and Carolyne <br />
  • How familiar are you with Everyday Democracy and its work? <br />
  • Carolyne: <br /> Who we are (Everyday Democracy): <br /> Everyday Democracy is a nonprofit organization based in East Hartford, CT that works across the country. We partner with local communities to find ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to address public issues. We got our start as the Study Circles Resource Center in 1989 and began publishing discussion guides on various issues to provide communities a way to engage one another in productive dialogue. <br /> Since those early days, the scope of our work has greatly expanded. Not only are we concerned with productive conversations, we place as much attention to the process of bringing people together as the dialogue itself. We also emphasize what happens after the dialogue and creating supports to help communities move their work forward from dialogue to action and change. With (14) full and part-time staff members and 17 consultants from around the country, we’ve worked with over 600 communities on lots of different public issues across the U.S. In 2008, we changed our name to Everyday Democracy to better convey what we do – which is to hold out a vision that opportunities for practicing democracy is something that should be available to everyone, everyday –not just on election day. That vision also speaks to our contribution to building a national civic infrastructure where all community members (whether you live in a hamlet or a sprawling metropolis) not only have voice in the public decisions that affect them, but have real opportunities to become “champions of change” in their communities. <br /> [could we have a partnership slide on the followingt statement, maybe a screen shot of the CCS with the partners listed] <br /> We are part of a small operating foundation and as such we try to leverage our resources in strategic ways. One example of this is our current partnership with other deliberative groups like NCDD, the National Issues Forum Institute, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse at Arizona State, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and former AmericaSpeaks in the national dialogue on mental health. Working collaboratively with governmental entities (national, state, and local partners) we have been able to help communities bring the issue of mental health out of the shadows while building platforms of engagement around the country on this critical, yet often not talked about issue. <br /> It is also our vision to contribute to a new civic infrastructure by partnering with national, regional and local groups that want to integrate our core principles of dialogue and equity into their work. (more on this later in the webinar). <br /> Now, a little more about our core principles: (next slide) <br />
  • Carolyne: <br /> We are guided in our work by a set of five basic core principles. These principles are: (1) involve everyone –every voice matters; (2) apply an equity lens (in age, gender, race, ethnicity, political perspective and so on); (3) share the knowledge, resources, power and decision making within the community acknowledging that the creative spirit of the many will yield more creative solutions; (4) connect the dialogue and deliberation –make room for building trust and understanding along with contrasting viewpoints and (5) connect all this work to the kind of change you want to see in your community. <br /> Working with these principles allows us to not think of our work in a cookie cutter approach. Instead, we try to support our partners in engaging these basic principles as they design their own process of public engagement unique to their environment. <br /> Some of you maybe interested in knowing more our core principle of equity, Malik will talk a little more about why we believe an equity lens is important to the work we do. <br /> [next slide] <br />
  • True democracy cannot exist with racism. Since the time of the revolutionary war to the present, America has been in a continual struggle of attaining the ideals of freedom, justice, and liberty while holding onto artificial and socially constructed distinctions which determine who can fully participate in this society. Racism has been the leading factor in the history of the nation in determining who has access to full citizenship and can fully participate in all aspects of society. <br />
  • EQUITY LENS: The process of analyzing privileges and opportunities based on fairness and/or the impact of ethnicity, age, gender, orientation, culture, religion, and other socially constructed attributes as determinants or key indicators to one’s life opportunities in a measurable or disparate way. For example, looking at your organization, company and government to determine why women, people of color, and immigrants with the same level of experience and education make less in salary than European males. This means we must examine ourselves to determine what is creating this and then create solutions to address it. <br /> Equity: Fairness or a state where ethnicity, culture, class, gender, orientation, age etc . . . are not indicators of one’s life opportunities in any measurable or disparate way. Equity exists when ethnic, age, marginalized, classes, gender, sexual orientation or cultural groups etc . . . are not important indicators in a statistical sense for access to opportunities and access to social, political, economic and other public institutions. <br /> [transition to “how we work’] <br />
  • So, what needs to happen to lead to the kind of change we’re talking about? <br /> It starts with inclusive community organizing, reaching out beyond the usual voices <br /> Then you gather the community together in dialogue groups <br /> After the dialogues, community members work on action ideas they developed. Ideally, these action teams are made up not only of dialogue participants, but also others in town who are interested in moving this effort forward. <br /> The process is something they can use to address issues as they arise. <br /> Through solid organizing, dialogues lead to actions and result in community change. Change can, and does, happen at any point using this approach. <br />
  • Here is a general overview of how Everyday Democracy’s process of community engagement works. There are three phases of the work: what we all an inclusive organizing phase, the dialogue and deliberation phase and an action planning and implementation phase – all of which leads to community change on different levels. <br /> Carolyne: <br /> Here’s how it looks on the ground: <br /> Representatives of the community come together to design a process, set goals and plan for the launch of diverse community conversations and the support of action ideas to follow. <br /> Many small groups meet to discuss a common concern. <br /> The talk leads to concrete ideas <br /> Citizens and officials work together to implement change <br /> As you can see, our public engagement process is comprised of three distinct phases of community work: community organizing; dialogue and deliberation; and action. <br />
  • [ 3 questions from group] <br /> [transition to community stories] <br />
  • Carolyne: <br /> Next we want to take a little time to mention a couple of different ways we work. One describes our work directly with a local community and the other will be in partnership with another foundation. <br />
  • Carolyne: <br />
  • Carolyne <br /> Many of you may recognize that poverty stands as a primary barrier to individuals, families and communities doing well – and to full participation in the life of our communities and country. <br /> The story of our work in the Horizons Poverty Reduction initiative started in 2004 and was that of a partnership with the Northwest Area Foundation and the Pew Center for Civic Change. In that initiative, hundreds of rural and tribal communities (over 280) with high poverty levels, throughout the Pacific Northwest (7 states), brought thousands of people into conversations and action to address poverty. As a result, they began to change conditions and opportunities in their communities, and many are continuing this vital work. <br /> The outcomes from that work cover a range of community actions ranging from philanthropic to economic development (such as a creating community foundations and obtaining $1.3m in grants) to specific actions to ameliorate the effects of poverty (such as opening of thrift stores to new housing renovations initiatives) to creating opportunities for youth ( such as new youth centers and after school boys and girls clubs established) to health and wellness outcomes (such as farmers markets, community gardens and health and fitness sites). <br /> The following quote offers us a lot of insight from one of the participants: <br /> [STOP] <br /> Full report by Minnesota Federal Reserve: www.frbsf.org/cpreport. <br /> [Spin off: <br /> In 2006, we began to partner with the Southern Rural Development Center, the Kettering Foundation, and the Farm Foundation, in a spin-off of Horizons throughout the Deep South, in an initiative called &quot;Turning the Tide on Poverty.&quot; Turning the Tide is continuing and expanding.]   <br /> ******************** <br /> Our work in these different ways over the years have led us to reflect upon our learnings. And while we cannot list all of what we see in this work on one slide, the next three bullets provide the general themes we see emerging. <br />
  • Communities enter this work in different ways. We need to be mindful of where they are in their own process of development and readiness. We need to work within those parameters that allow each community is own authentic voice without imposition. <br /> As we move forward (next slide) in our own work looking ahead to our resources and limited capacity, we are targeted our assistance in three key ways: <br />
  • Read slide and transition into website tour. <br />
  • Here is our new website… <br />
  • About the Dialogue-to-Change Program: Learn the principles of the dialogue-to-change program and access tips and resources for each of the six phases. <br />
  • Resources for Changemakers: View, download, and share discussion guides, handbooks, handouts, and reports that can help you implement a program. <br />
  • Stories About Changemakers: Use stories to get inspired, help with your fundraising efforts, and share your success. We feature success stories as well as a blog-like section to highlight the efforts of many communities across the country. <br />
  • About Everyday Democracy: Learn the history of Everyday Democracy, read about our projects, and get to know our staff and consultants. <br />

Everyday Democracy's Approach to Change and Website Tour Presentation Transcript

  • 1. An Overview of Everyday Democracy’s Approach to Community Change Confab Call:
  • 2. Malik Russell Carolyne Abdullah Rebecca Reyes Communications Director of Communications Director Community Assistance Manager Today’s Presenters
  • 3. Raise your hand to let us know you want to ask a question out loud Type a question into the box at any time How to ask questions during the webinar
  • 4. Agenda o Who We Are o How We Work o Questions o Stories of Community Change • South Bronx, NY • Horizons Anti-Poverty Program o Tour of Website o Closing Questions
  • 5. Poll
  • 6. Everyday Democracy
  • 7. o Involve everyone o Apply an equity lens o Share knowledge, resources, power & decision-making o Connect dialogue & deliberation o Connect deliberative dialogue to social, political, & policy change Everyday Democracy’s Approach to Public Engagement
  • 8. Why Addressing Structural Racism is essential to Building a Strong Democracy
  • 9. Addressing Racism via an Equity Lens 1. Are groups affected by the process we have established for setting up this discussion? 2. What groups are affected by this particular practice, policy, decision or law? 3. Are the groups affected at the table, represented equitable and possess voice? 4. How will this particular practice, policy decision, or law impact the affected group(s)? 5. How do the affected groups perceive the practice, policy, decision or law? 6. Does this particular practice, policy, decision or law improves, make worse or create unintended consequences for the affected groups? 7. Among the groups affected, are those who make the decisions equitable balanced? 8. Depending on the above answers, what changes need to happen to the particular practice, policy, decision or law to ensure equity?
  • 10. DialogueAction Equitable Community Change Organizing
  • 11. Organizing for Dialogue and Equitable Community Change Action Forum Individual Change Institutional and Policy Impact Collective Action Set Goals Facilitator Training Plan for Action Recruit Participants and Facilitators Kick Off DialogueOrganize Action CommunityChange Dialogue
  • 12. Questions
  • 14. South Bronx http://bit.ly/sbronxstory
  • 15. “Both the police and the community members were shocked at how effective the process was at breaking down the barriers of communication, opening ears to begin to hear each other … leading to common action towards real change.” -- Lisa Sharon Harper, former Executive Director of New York Faith & Justice
  • 16. Horizons Anti-Poverty Program http://everyday-democracy.org/horizons-anti-poverty-program
  • 17. “People from all different walks of life – from the banker to the people who work in small town businesses to farm people – all came together and we all worked for a common goal. Many of these people had never met each other before.” -- Muriel Kruseman, Community leader in Hoffman, Minn.
  • 18. What we’re learning about community change o Both the process and content of the work is dynamic and ever-changing o Allow coalition members to build shared knowledge and understandings esp. when tackling protracted issues like poverty, policing, student opportunity, etc. where structural inequities and deep distrust are present o Provide evaluative coaching and support if community level change is desired
  • 19. Moving forward o Targeted field assistance to communities of low financial resources o Developing partnerships with national, regional, state and/or local groups o Revamping online assistance through our updated website – www.everyday-democracy.org
  • 20. What’s new on the website? Responsive design – View the website and access our resources on the go with your smart phone or tablet. Open access to resources – Now you can view, download, and share resources such as discussion guides and handbooks without registering. Easily search through resources – Sort through resources by issue, type, phase, or date.
  • 21. Questions