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Highlights of Everyday Democracy’s journey to address racism

April 17, 2014

Within three years of our founding, we had decided to address the issue of racism head-on as we worked with and learned from community groups.  Our 25-year journey has led us to deep collaboration with community partners of every ethnic background, in every region of the country, on many different issues. Here are some highlights from our history that have made an impact in our journey to address racism:

1993 – Publication of our first discussion guide to address racism. Small-grant program enabled us to work with Lima, Ohio, in the first large-scale dialogue-to-change program on racism. 

1995 – Worked with the L.A. City Council and the Community Relations Service of the U.S.  Department of Justice to support L.A.’s Day of Dialogue on Race, engaging thousands of residents in the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial.

1995 – Named by the White House as one of the most effective dialogue processes on race.

1996 – With other national organizations, worked with the White House to create the One American Dialogue Guide as part of the President’s Initiative on Race.  

1999 through the present – Bridging the fields of deliberative democracy and racial equity. Our participation in National Alliance Bridging Race and Ethnicity, and collaboration with other organizations such as the Kirwan Institute, Race Forward, and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, has made it possible for us to serve as a link between the fields of deliberative democracy, democracy reform, and racial equity.   

2000 – Publication of large-scale external evaluation of dialogue on racism, looking at “best practices” of communities across the U.S., funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation. 

2002 to the present – Began our internal organizational journey to address structural racism and other forms of equity. This essential part of our learning is an ongoing commitment.   

2006 – Developed the 4th edition of our guide on racism, Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation. The increasing public awareness of growing ethnic diversity and opportunity gaps, combined with requests for tools to link dialogue to structural change led us to design this resource. C.S. Mott funded the roll-out of the guide.

2008Communities Creating Racial Equity national initiative began, with funding from the  W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We began working intensively with nine communities across the country to learn about the connections between dialogue and change of all forms --  personal, institutional and cultural. This work has continued and expanded, with support from The Whitman Institute.

2008 – Moved our offices to the Hartford region, to enable us to further diversify our staff. 

See our complete timeline.

See the seven key lessons we've learned from 25 years of addressing racism.

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources 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.