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Ten Equity & Action Tools from Everyday Democracy

Our organizational partners at Everyday Democracy recently shared a compilation of their top 10 resources for dialogue and deliberation practitioners that we highly encourage you to check out. They provide guidance on issues from incorporating racial equity into our work to training youth facilitators and are valuable tools for deepening our work. You can read more about the resources below or find EvDem’s original post by clicking here.


EvDem LogoOver 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

This 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

This 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

This 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 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

This comprehensive guide will help you develop a community-wide dialogue to change program from start to finish.

6. Personal Cultural Timeline Exercise

This 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 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

This 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.

9Focusing on Racial Equity as We Work

Organizing groups should review this list of questions, occasionally, to make sure they are working well together.

10. Facilitators’ Racial Equity Checklist

Following 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.

The original version of this post can be found at http://everyday-democracy.org/news/top-10-resources-creating-change#.U37rSPldUlr.

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Roshan Bliss

An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD’s Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.


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