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Four Communities Across the Country That Have Embedded Dialogue to Change

For more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – one that is characterized by strong relationships across divides, racial equity, and widespread leadership and voice.  Here are snapshots of just four of the hundreds of communities that have been positively transformed through their Dialogue to Change efforts.

Decatur County, Georgia (Population 27,023)*:

Many look to Decatur, Georgia as an example of inclusion, diversity, and citizen engagement.  The city routinely engages many different sectors of the community in addressing its challenges, ranging from affordable housing to race equity issues to community-police relations – going beyond the traditional public comment or public hearing to true and ongoing dialogue. In the 1990s, the city rolled out the Decatur Round Tables, now known as Better Together, to help enhance and execute its strategic plan. 

In 2017, more than 250 people attended a five-hour community conversation to connect even more community members with the Better Together plan. The event generated 625 action ideas that were distilled into 60 concrete items for the final plan, many of which were put into motion, and are in place today.  Learn more.

Syracuse, New York (Population 144,405)*: 

Central New York’s InterFaith Works’ El-Hindi Center for Dialogue continually confronts “hot topics” in the community head on, with thoughtful, facilitated listening and sharing sessions that gather people together and lead to planning and action. From dialogues on police-community relations and ending racism, to Youth Cultural Exchanges and conversations on education equity in the public school system and community colleges, the Center has been successfully building bridges of understanding throughout the community, and has become a sought-after source for institutions and initiatives seeking racial equity and equitable solutions to day-to-day challenges they are facing. Learn more.

Albuquerque, New Mexico (Population 556,718)*:

Families United for Education and Generation Justice are two organizations in Albuquerque that are committed to the Dialogue to Change process.  These organizations empower all residents in the community by amplifying the voices of youth, students, parents and organizers toward a collective vision of racial, ethnic, economic and intergenerational equity.  By increasing the “community voice” in decisions that impact families, and by developing school policies that reinforce community voice, the District is advancing equitable opportunities for student success. 

Generation Justice was founded on principles of social justice, decolonization, and media justice and has a track record of engaging with communities state-wide via radio broadcasts and the use of the internet to connect with individuals, schools and organizations. Noted as New Mexico’s premiere, award-winning youth media project, the organization’s effort provides a megaphone of sorts to ensure that even voices in smaller rural communities are heard. Learn more about Families United for Education and Generation Justice.

West Palm Beach, Florida (Population 106,805)*:

Community Partners first used Dialogue to Change in 2002 after a young black man was found hanging from a tree in Belle Glade, Florida. Residents were split along racial lines – white residents believed it was a suicide and black residents believed he was hanged. The court ultimately deemed it a suicide, but that didn’t resolve the tension in the community surrounding this tragic event.  Community Partners, which has since become an Everyday Democracy Anchor Partner, is now conducting more than 10 ongoing dialogue projects across the county.

West Palm Beach is also improving its community-police relations, and Dialogue to Change is a go-to strategy in the community.  Through ongoing Dialogue to Change efforts over the past 15 years, approaching difficult topics in the community has gotten easier.  Community engagement and prevention initiatives are valued as equally as enforcement initiatives, reducing the “us against them” view among police and the community. Learn more.

Is your community benefitting from Dialogue to Change?  Want to learn more?  Visit www.everyday-democracy.org or contact Sagacity Walker at mwalker@everyday-democracy.org to connect.

* Population as of 2017, American Community Survey, 5-Year Population Estimates

 

March 26, 2019

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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.