In these times, the work of #BridgingOurDivides continues to be one of the biggest contributions our field can make to the nation. But it takes a lot to do that difficult work. Today, we wanted to share a great piece by NCDD member Martha McCoy of Everyday Democracy reflecting on civic courage – what it means, why it’s important for bridging divides, and ideas for how to cultivate it. The piece also invites D&D practitioners to share your stories and thoughts about civic courage with EvDem, which we hope you’ll do. You can read Martha’s piece below or find the original version here.
Practicing Civic Courage in Our Time
The day after the election, we shared a piece by our board member Peter Levine, in which he called for civic courage. As division, uncertainty, and anxiety continue to grow, I find myself coming back to this important idea. When messages of fear become louder and more frequent, what does civic courage look like ? How can we practice it?
At difficult times throughout our history, many people have exercised civic courage. What kind of courage do we need to practice today? What will it take to advance a democracy that values the voice and participation of people of all racial and ethnic groups, economic means, creeds, ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and walks of life?
Since Everyday Democracy is a national civic organization that focuses on providing ways to lift every voice, we have opportunities to work with and learn from civic practitioners and visionary leaders across the country. Here are a few lessons about civic courage we have drawn from their experiences:
The work of strengthening democracy is ultimately collective, but it is alsoan “inside job.” Those whose words and actions touch us most deeply draw on (more…)