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Connecticut Humanities awards public presentation grant to Everyday Democracy in support of its program "Connecticut's Civic Health: A Humanities Perspective"

March 21, 2016

Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Humanities has awarded Everyday Democracy a public presentation grant in the amount of $13,500 in support of its humanities program “Connecticut’s Civic Health: A Humanities Perspective.”

The grant will fund a Town Hall Meeting event scheduled for Thursday, June 9, 2016, at Connecticut’s Old State House.  At this event, community and civic leaders, public officials, and humanities scholars will engage in a conversation about civic health data and findings from the newly published 2016 Connecticut Civic Health Index report.

According to Martha McCoy, Executive Director of Everyday Democracy, “learning about civic health through the lens of the humanities helps us bring the past and present into perspective. As we reflect on the changing role of civic associations and participation and on what citizenship and the common good can mean, we can create a more vibrant and robust civic life in our state.”

The June 2016 event will feature the nationally renowned civic leader Eric Liu, co-author of The Gardens of Democracy, as keynote speaker; Ms. Martha McCoy of Everyday Democracy; and a distinguished panel that includes: The Honorable Secretary of the State Denise Merrill; Dr. Richard D. Brown, Professor Emeritus of History, UConn; Dr. Bilal D. Sekou, Professor of Political Science, University of Hartford; and Ms. Alma Maya, Latino community advocate and Former Bridgeport Town Clerk. The program will be moderated by award-winning journalist and producer Diane Smith and produced by The Connecticut Network (CT-N). It will be aired live-and live-streamed on CT-N and will accessible for viewing during the month of June through CT-N on demand.

The program will offer various humanities perspectives on the importance of civic health to the economic resiliency of Connecticut communities. It will also examine opportunities and barriers to civic participation and draw strategies and best practices from Mr. Liu’s talk and the panel discussion. Topics that will be addressed include the meaning of “great citizenship,” the importance of inclusive civic engagement and public participation, and the role of everyday people in finding solutions to local problems. The conversation will also highlight the essential voices of communities of color and young people in our state and will help concerned citizens and groups and associations from all sectors chart strategies and welcoming pathways for participation in public life. 

The program draws from the underlying message of William D. Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, that “the common good is central to democratic political theory and expresses both the right and the obligation of citizens to debate and determine the general welfare; it is the aspirational goal, the guiding ambition that anchors citizenship and participation in democratic politics.” Hence, the program will also create a space for learning on how the humanities can play a vital role in public life.

Funding for Connecticut’s Civic Health: a Humanities Perspective is made possible by the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which provide significant support to Connecticut Humanities. Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community, and enrich lives. The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and Connecticut Campus Compact also contributed funding in support of this program.

Everyday Democracy thanks the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation, especially Congressman John B. Larson (1st Congressional District) and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, for supporting funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State Representative Angel Arce (State House District 004), and State Senator John Fonfara (S01) for supporting Connecticut Humanities. It also thanks Connecticut Humanities, Connecticut’s Old State House, The Connecticut Network (CT-N), and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill for supporting this program.

Founded in 1989, Everyday Democracy 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 its inception, Everyday Democracy has worked with over 600 local communities across the U.S., by providing advice, training, tools and resources, so that they can engage their residents in meaningful and inclusive ways to build communities that work for everyone. It has also partnered with national and local organizations to strengthen inclusive practices of civic participation and promote a stronger, more equitable democracy.

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