Our ultimate vision is that local communities create and sustain public dialogue and problem solving. Such strong local democracies can form the cornerstone of a vibrant national democracy. In this kind of democracy:
"Study circles and deliberative democracy have enabled Portsmouth to resolve contentious issues with blazing speed, harmony and inclusiveness. We can never go back to the tired, broken format of public hearings which create more antagonism than they solve."
--John Tabor, co-founder of Portsmouth Listens and publisher of the Portsmouth Herald in Portsmouth, N.H.
- everyone’s voice has an opportunity to be heard, equally and respectfully;
- people of different backgrounds and views routinely work together to solve public problems;
- elected officials have many opportunities to hear from and respond to everyday people;
- people have ways not only to inform government officials as they create and carry out public policy, but also to work with officeholders to solve public problems
To help communities develop their own ability to solve problems by exploring ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to create change.
The special place of race in our work
Racism is rooted in our country's history and is embedded in our culture. It is still one of the greatest barriers to solving all kinds of public problems and to fulfilling the promise of our democracy. Because of this, we help communities pay particular attention to how structural racism and other structural inequalities affect the problems they address.