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Top 10 resources for creating change

May 15, 2014

Over the past 25 years, our most important source of learning has been from the deep partnerships we have had with formal and informal leaders in communities from every region of the country. People come to us from places of all sizes and demographics, and with a wide variety of histories, assets and concerns. As we have coached them, we have learned with them, and as a result have created and adapted advice and tools that others can learn from and adapt to their particular situations.

Some of the lessons we have learned from our community partners include:

  • How community coalitions can work together to organize large-scale dialogue and action;
  • How to recruit a broad diversity of residents for dialogue, facilitation, and action;
  • How to engage those who are often left out or marginalized;    
  • How to frame an issue so that people of all backgrounds and views can find their voice in the conversation;
  • Ways to use an intentional “equity lens” so that organizing, dialogue and action can take into account and address the underlying inequities and power dynamics of the community;  
  • How to bridge dialogue and intentional action strategies;
  • How community voice and participation can change the way public instutions such as school systems and police departments work; 
  • How to link community voice with policy-making;
  • How to embed dialogue and change processes in the regular culture and practices of the community.       

Many of these lessons are captured the tools and advice you will find on our website. The tools that were most frequently clicked on in recent months reflect an interest in applying these lessons in other communities. Here is a sampling of our “readers’ favorites” of the recent past:

1. Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation

Facing Racism in a Diverse NationThis six-session discussion guide helps all kinds of people take part in meaningful dialogue to examine gaps among racial and ethnic groups and create institutional and policy change.

 

 

2. Action Road Map Planning Tool

Action Road Map Planning ToolThis Action Road Map will help communities walk through the steps we need to take to carry out a plan for action. Using this worksheet, you will think about the people, places, and things in your community that can help you reach your goals. Each action team should create their own Action Road Map.

 

3. Protecting Communities, Serving the Public

Protecting Communities, Serving the PublicThis five-session discussion guide is designed to help communities bring police and residents together to build trust and respect, develop better policies, and make changes for safer communities.

 

 

4. Guide to Training Public Dialogue Facilitators

A Guide for Training Public Dialogue FacilitatorsA Guide for Training Public Dialogue Facilitators is a comprehensive training curriculum. This guide includes advice for creating a training program for both youth and adults, with expanded facilitator training, plus suggestions for ongoing support and evaluation of dialogue facilitators.

 

 

5. Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change

Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and ChangeThis comprehensive guide will help you develop a community-wide dialogue to change program from start to finish.

 

 

 

6. Personal Cultural Timeline Exercise

Personal Cultural TImeline ExericiseThis activity will help the group get to know each other better and understand our histories. The facilitator should post large sheets of paper with the timeline written on it for participants to add their events. Follow the instructions in the handout below to facilitate the discussion.

 

 

7. Building Prosperity for All

Building Prosperity for AllBuilding Prosperity for All is for people in rural communities and small towns who are working to move from poverty to prosperity. This resource was designed to benefit communities that participated in dialogue-to-change programs using the guide, Thriving Communities: Working Together to Move From Poverty to Prosperity for All. However, no prior experience with Thriving Communities is necessary to get involved.

 

8. Strong Starts for Children

Strong Starts for ChildrenThis five-session discussion guide helps people get involved in an important issue facing all of us: the well-being of our youngest children. The guide looks at how we are connected to the lives of children in our community and the “invisible” effects of racism and poverty. It also guides people in developing plans for action.

 

 

9. Focusing on Racial Equity as We Work

Focusing on Racial Equity as We WorkOrganizing groups should review this list of questions, occasionally, to make sure they are working well together.

 

 

 

10. Facilitators' Racial Equity Checklist

Facilitator's Racial Equity ChecklistFollowing each dialogue session, facilitators should take some time to debrief and make sure they are working well together.

 

 

 

Please let us know what tools and supports you are using in your community, and what you are learning as you apply democratic principles and practices. We look forward to working and learning with you, and to sharing your practical insights with others.         

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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.