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CT Civic Ambassador Summit Shares Insight from Civic Leaders and Each Other

December 1, 2018

The midterm elections provided an opportunity for Connecticut residents to voice their choices for elected leadership, and the polls were bustling with an unprecedented amount of activity indicating people are feeling the need to have their voices heard by the government that is elected to represent them.

Yet, there are many ways to stay engaged beyond voting day.  Whether it is by participating in dialogue circles, encouraging participatory budgeting in your community, belonging to community groups, volunteering, giving to charity, or simply talking to one’s neighbors, each is an action that builds civic health.

In September 2017, Everyday Democracy, in partnership with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, launched the Connecticut Civic Ambassadors Initiative.  CT Civic Ambassadors are catalysts for civic action in Connecticut toward creating stronger civic health and REAL socioeconomic benefits both in terms of social capital and community well-being.

Now, with more than 50 Civic Ambassadors statewide this initiative this second annual summit gathered many of them, and swore in more than a dozen new Ambassadors who are committed to creating positive change in their communities.

After welcome remarks from Martha McCoy, Everyday Democracy's Executive Director, Lourdes Montalvo from the Office of the Secretary of State, and Brendan Kane from the Connecticut Humanities Institute, there were two panel discussions - one moderated by Richard Frieder of Community Capacity Builders with Maryam Elahi, Lucia Goicoechea-Hernandez, Elizabeth Joseph and Job Cusano spoke about the philanthropic commitment to civic engagement and what Ambassadors are doing in their communities.  A second panel featured youth from UCONN, Woodland Regional High School, Hall High School and Connecticut River Academy with some impressive impacts they are already having in their schools and in their communities.  The panels were followed up with keynote speaker, Doug Linkhart - President of the National Civic League and small group discussions where attendees learned from each other.

Connecticut Civic Ambassadors will gather many times in the upcoming year, at events and virtually through webinars and other online forums to continue to share best practices, learn what is working in communities across the state.  If you are interested in becoming a Connecticut Civic Ambassador, you can learn more about the program and complete the attached form for an applicationYou can also check out the Facebook page where more photos will be posted soon.

The event was hosted and sponsored by Everyday Democracy, along with the Hartford Public Library, the Secretary of State's office and the Hartford Courant Media Group.  Other supporters included:  Red, White and Blue Schools, The Connecticut Forum, NCOC, UCONN Hartford, CT Parent Power, The Parent Leadership Training Institute, Campus Compact, Civic Life Project, UCONN Humanities Institute, Community Capacity Builders, Hartford Decides, the Commission on Equity and Opportunity Connecticut Kid Governor and the National Civic League. 

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.