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Best Resources for Responding to the Newtown Tragedy

On December 17th (three days after the Newtown tragedy), NCDD launched a collaborative workspace on Hackpad to help the dialogue and deliberation community think through how we might respond — both individually and collectively — to the shooting and all it surfaced.

Here is a compilation of some of the best resources that were shared on the site to help people run dialogue and deliberation programs to address the myriad social and political issues surfaced by the Newtown shooting.  The first two resources were created quickly in response to the crisis.

These have all been posted in the NCDD Resource Center and some in the blog as well, but we thought a compilation would be useful and easily sharable. None of the issues surfaced after Newtown — school safety, mental health, violence in society, etc. –are going away anytime soon.  So please use and share this list, and look over the other conversations we’ve been having on the Hackpad site if you’re interested.

How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities? (NIF Issue Advisory)

On February 1, 2013, National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) released an Issue Advisory that contains materials that communities might wish to use in deliberating over the issues raised by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. This “issue advisory” is not a full NIF issue guide, but a basic outline of the options, entitled How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities? The 4-page issue advisory was written by NCDD member Brad Rourke, a Kettering Foundation program officer.

NCDD listing: http://ncdd.org/rc/item/7449
Download link: http://www.nifi.org/stream_document.aspx?rID=23758&catID=6&itemID=23757&typeID=8

Responding to the Newtown Tragedy: What parents and educators can do to make schools safer

How should schools and communities respond to the Newtown tragedy? Matt Leighninger of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium just produced, in partnership with the National School Public Relations Association, a guide for discussion and action on school safety and other issues raised by the events in Newtown.

NCDD listing: http://ncdd.org/rc/item/7352
Download link: www.deliberative-democracy.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=41&Itemid=92

Addressing Mental Health Care: A Handbook for Discussion & Deliberation

This issue guide was created in 2007 by Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD) in association with the National Association of Mental Illness (Kansas). David Proctor, ICDD director, has made this issue guide available for anyone who is interested in using it to deliberate about mental illness and public policy. The 16-page guide, titled Addressing Mental Health Care: a handbook for discussion & deliberation, presents three possible approaches for deliberation

NCDD listing: http://ncdd.org/rc/item/7330
Download link: http://www.nifi.org/stream_document.aspx?rID=23551&catID=15&itemID=23550&typeID=8

Dealing with Deeply Held Concerns and Other Challenges to Public Engagement Processes

The Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement Program offers a draft (as of Jan 2013) 7-page document to help local officials design and prepare for public engagement processes that are effective, responsive and civil – even when participants hold very strong views.

NCDD listing: http://ncdd.org/rc/item/7350
Download link: http://www.ca-ilg.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/dealing_with_deeply_held_concerns_draft_10-19-12.pdf

Confronting Violence in Our Communities: A Guide for Involving Citizens in Public Dialogue & Problem Solving

EvDem LogoThe purpose of this 4-session discussion guide, produced in 1994 by Everyday Democracy (then the Study Circles Resource Center), is to help you run a series of small-group dialogues that will help participants consider what they can do to prevent crime and violence in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.

Download link: http://www.ncdd.org/files/etc/ConfrontingViolenceInOurCommunities-1994.pdf
Link on Everyday Democracy site: http://www.everyday-democracy.org/en/Resource.31.aspx

Organizing a community summit on school violence

Feel free to use and adapt this one-page tip sheet from Everyday Democracy!

Here some ideas on how you might organize a one-day event on school violence. The summit we describe is intended to help a community address the issue, but also lay the groundwork for a long-term citizen involvement effort. Please call us if you would like to organize this kind of an event. – Everyday Democracy (www.everyday-democracy.org)

Download link: http://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/EvDem-OrganizingASummitOnSchoolViolence.doc

Public Conversations Project resources

pcp_logoThe Public Conversations Project has developed many high-quality materials to help groups engage in dialogue about heated issues.  Here are a few of the resources they shared on the Hackpad site…


Know of another great resources that should be added to this list?  Add it via the comments below, or to the Hackpad page here.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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