In its earliest years, Everyday Democracy (then the Study Circles Resource Center) was one of the leading innovators in the now-growing field of deliberative democracy and dialogue, drawing practices from a wide range of grass-roots leaders and public officials. At first, its focus was primarily on creating tools for inclusive, productive talk. Throughout the nineties, the Center helped foster a large national network of multi-racial and cross-sector coalitions focused on issues of racism, inter-ethnic relations, and diversity. It worked with the L.A. City Council in the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial, helping to involve thousands of Angelenos in dialogue on the issues they were facing. The Center went on to assist hundreds of communities, providing tools and training to help local organizers engage hundreds and thousands of people in dialogue on a wide range of public issues -- criminal justice, education reform, growth and development, youth issues, neighborhood issues, and others.
Its work with local organizers led the Center to expand its focus to include community organizing to increase and diversify participation in dialogue. Now it is further expanding its focus, concentrating on how to make sure that community organizing, large-scale, diverse dialogue, and other civic processes can work together to create and sustain community change. The name Everyday Democracy signifies the ultimate goal of communities that work better for everyone because all voices are included in public problem solving.
As Everyday Democracy continues to ground what it is learning in the realities of community life, it works to bring those lessons to the fields of deliberative democracy, racial justice and the larger movement to strengthen democracy. Its community assistance, learning, communications, and partnership development aim to develop and span those fields -- while creating and disseminating user-friendly tools that all communities can use.
Everyday Democracy is based in the capital city region of Connecticut, in East Hartford.