Advancing a social justice agenda starts with being smart and deliberate in how we frame our discourse. The Social Justice Phrase Guide is your go-to tool to craft inclusive messages. Whether developing language for your organization, communicating through media platforms or engaging in personal discussions, follow these guidelines to successfully communicate across communities. A collaboration of Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization, and The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab, download the printable pamphlet here.The guide... About Advancement Project Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras. From Advancement Project's inception, we have worked "on-the-ground," helping organized communities of color dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy. Simultaneously, we have aggressively sought and seized opportunities to promote this approach to racial justice. Follow on Twitter: @ About The Opportunity Agenda The Opportunity Agenda is a social justice communication lab. We collaborate with social justice leaders to move hearts and minds, driving lasting policy and culture change. We bring the inspirational voices of opportunity and possibility to social justice issues through communication expertise, and creative engagement. Follow on Twitter: @ Resource Link: www.advancementproject.org/resources/entry/the-social-justice-phrase-guide
What is the state of the research on crowdsourcing for policymaking? This article begins to answer this question by collecting, categorizing, and situating an extensive body of the extant research investigating policy crowdsourcing, within a new framework built on fundamental typologies from each field. We first define seven universal characteristics of the three general crowdsourcing techniques (virtual labor markets, tournament crowdsourcing, open collaboration), to examine the relative tradeoffs of each modality. We then compare these three types of crowdsourcing to the different stages of the policy cycle, in order to situate the literature spanning both domains. We finally discuss research trends in crowdsourcing for public policy and highlight the research gaps and overlaps in the literature.Find the full paper here. About the Davenport Institute Since our founding as a multi-partisan and non-profit organization in 2005, The Davenport Institute (formerly Common Sense California) has worked to engage the citizens of this state in the policy decisions that affect our everyday lives. It is our firm belief that, in today's world of easy access to information, and easy connectivity to others, California's municipal and education leaders are seeking ways to involve the residents of their communities in the important issues they confront. Done legitimately, this new kind of leadership produces better, more creative policy solutions and better, more engaged citizens committed to the hard work of self-governance. Resource Link: http://gov20watch.pepperdine.edu/2015/08/research-policy-crowdsourcing/
My experience conducting dialogues among those who have fierce differences about issues such as abortion and homosexuality has made me aware that questions have impact even before they are answered. They can close a door or turn on a light. They can intensify conflict or deepen mutual understanding. Asking the right questions now could build bridges across old divides and prevent the digging of new trenches at a time when we can ill afford further damage to our national landscape. Questions have unsung power. They focus our attention: "What was your first reaction?" They call upon one dimension of us rather than another: "How are you trying to reassure your children?" They can point us toward a path of understanding and action: "Are there legitimate reasons for people to hate this country?" Every question harbors an assumption that is often hidden. "How can we get even?" states more than it asks. By answering a question, most of us unwittingly support its hidden assumptions. Since the terrible destruction of September 11, we have been barraged by questions of all kinds. Questions that seek facts or reassurance. Dread-filled questions that shuffle, half formed, through the dark hallways of our minds: "Why?" and "What will become of us now?" What are the right questions for these harrowing times? To me, they are questions that promote recovery, minimize risks, and strengthen us for the marathon that lies ahead. They are questions that can galvanize our loyalty to our precious, if flawed, nation -- without accelerating a worldwide spiral of violence that becomes even more catastrophic than the events of September 11. ... We can notice the impact on ourselves and others of the questions we hear or read. We can be thoughtful about the purposes of the questions we ask. We can avoid using rhetorical questions. We can decline to answer questions likely to steer talk in destructive directions.About Public Conversations Project PCP fosters constructive conversation where there is conflict driven by differences in identity, beliefs, and values. We work locally, nationally, and globally to provide dialogue facilitation, training, consultation, and coaching. We help groups reduce stereotyping and polarization while deepening trust and collaboration and strengthening communities. At the core of many of today’s most complex social problems is a breakdown in relationships that leads to mistrust, gridlock, and fractured communities. Public Conversations’ method addresses the heart of this breakdown: we work to shift relationships, building the communication skills and trust needed to make action possible and collaboration sustainable. Since our founding in 1989, Public Conversations' practitioners have worked on a broad range of issues, including same-sex marriage, immigration, abortion, diversity, guns, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have also contributed to peace-building efforts in several conflict-torn regions overseas. In situations where a breakdown in trust, relationships, and constructive communication is part of the problem, PCP offers a solution. Follow on Twitter: @. Resource Link: www.publicconversations.org/resource/searching-wise-questions
Clarity on purposeFirst, it’s important to be clear what wider engagement is for. Engagement is rarely a good in itself. More passionate engagement in issues can be a powerful force for progress. But it can be the opposite, entrenching conflicts and generating heat rather than light. The goals of engagement can include some or all of the following: legitimation, or public trust; better quality decisions and outcomes; or a public which better understands the key issues and choices. These goals can often coincide. But there will be many times when they directly clash with each other. A related question is how direct democratic engagement relates to representative democracy. Sometimes these align – when a political leader or party creates new forums to complement the paraphernalia of elections and manifestos. But sometimes they conflict – with Iceland’s attempt to involve the public in writing a new constitution an important recent test case (the new constitution was drafted by a broad based commission with online inputs from the public, and endorsed by public referendum, but then rejected by a newly elected parliament). One lesson is that it’s wise to involve elected politicians as directly as possible – since they continue to hold ultimate authority.
Clarity on who you want to reachSecond, who do you want to reach? Even in the most developed nations and cities there are still very practical barriers of reach – despite the huge spread of broadband, mobiles and smart phones. Recent experience suggests that engagements which only use digital tools rather than print, radio, TV and face to face, can get very skewed inputs. That’s fine for some kinds of engagement – 1% involvement can greatly improve the quality of decisions. But it’s vital to keep checking that the participant groups aren’t unrepresentative. Even very tech savvy cities like New York and Los Angeles have repeatedly found that participants in purely digital consultations are much more male, young, well-educated, affluent and metropolitan than the population as a whole.
Clarity on what tools for what issues – navigating ‘Belief and Knowledge Space’Third, even if there were strong habits of digital engagement for the whole population it would not follow that all issues should be opened up for the maximum direct participation. A useful approach is to distinguish issues according to two dimensions. The first dimension differentiates issues where the public has expertise and experience from ones where the knowledge needed to make decisions is very specialised. There are many issues on which crowds simply don’t have much information let alone wisdom, and any political leader who opened up decision making too far would quickly lose the confidence of the public. The second dimension differentiates issues which are practical and pragmatic from ones where there are strongly held and polarised opinions, mainly determined by underlying moral beliefs rather than argument and evidence. Putting these together gives us a two dimensional space on which to map any public policy issue, which could be described as the ‘Belief and Knowledge Space’. Public engagement, and the use of digital tools to widen engagement, is possible on all points. But different types of issue need very different tools, depending on how open or closed public views are likely to be, and how inclusive or exclusive the knowledge needed for participation is. For example, an issue on which there is widely shared knowledge but strongly contested values (like gay marriage) requires different methods to one which is both more technical in nature and dependent on highly specialised knowledge (like monetary policy). A contested issue – in the top left quadrant – will bring in highly motivated groups who are very unlikely to change their views as a result of participation. New fora for debate give added oxygen to pre-existing views rather than encouraging deliberation. With very specialised issues, by contrast, wide participation in debate may risk encouraging unwise decisions – which will subsequently be rejected by voters (how much would you want the details of monetary policy, or responses to a threatened epidemic, to be determined by your fellow citizens?). So in this, bottom right, quadrant some of the most useful tools are ones which mobilise broader bodies of expertise than the ones immediately accessible to government, but try to filter out inputs based on opinion rather than knowledge or experience. Another interesting category, however, falls roughly in the middle to top right of the table above. These are issues involving scientific choices that include ethics, some highly specialised knowledge, but also significant public interest. For issues of this kind, open public deliberation may be important both to educate the public and to legitimise decisions. Stem cell research, genomics, privacy and personal data are all issues of this kind. The issues surrounding mitochondrial research are a good recent example. But the formats need to involve smaller groups in more intensive deliberation and engagement with the facts, before the process is opened up. The challenge then is how to use these exercises to influence a wider public, which in most cases must involve mass media as well as the internet. I’m sure there are other issues and dimensions to consider and would welcome suggestions on improvements to the model I’ve set out here.
Clarity on requisite scaleFourth, engagement looks and feels very different at different scales. A small city like Reykjavik can run a fantastic online tool for citizens to propose ideas and comment. There’s a directness and authenticity about the points made. At the other end of the spectrum a nation of 300 million like the US, or 1300 million like India, is bound to struggle with online engagement, since well-funded lobby groups are likely to be much more adept at playing the system. More systematic rules; more governance of governance; and a bigger role for intermediaries and representatives is unavoidable on these larger scales. Democracy isn’t fractal – instead it’s a phenomenon, like much biology, where larger scale requires different forms, not just a scaled up version of what works in a town or neighbourhood.
Clarity on identity and anonymityModern democracy allows people a secret ballot (though we sometimes forget that this is a relatively recent idea, sometimes attributed to the Australians, though I think France got there first). But we usually make votes in parliaments visible. The modern internet allows for anonymity which has fuelled some its worst features – abuse, extreme views etc. So any designer of democratic engagement tools has to decide what levels of anonymity should apply at each stage. We might choose to allow anonymity at early stages of consultations, but require people to show and validate identities at later stages (eg. to confirm they actually live in the neighbourhood or city involved), certainly as any issue comes closer to decisions. The diagram below summarises these different steps, and the block chain tools being used in the D-CENT pilots bring these issues to the fore. The 2010s are turning out to be a golden age of democratic innovation. That’s bringing creativity and excitement but also challenges, in particular around how to relate the new forms to the old ones, online communities to offline ones, the democracy of voice and numbers and the democracy of formal representation. Crowds can help with many tasks. But they are particularly badly suited to the job of designing new institutions, or crafting radical strategies, or combining discrete policies into coherent programmes. This still tends to be the preserve of quite small groups, in intense face to face conversation. As a result my guess is that the most successful models in the next few years will fuse representative and direct elements. They will be honest that the buck still stops with elected representatives – and that the online tools are inputs and supplements rather than replacements. They will present conversation and deliberation as preferable to relying on occasional elections, and the odd binary petition. But they will also be clear that the 21st century parliament or city council has to be a hybrid too – physical and digital. More About Nesta Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organizations bring great ideas to life. We are dedicated to supporting ideas that can help improve all our lives, with activities ranging from early stage investment to in-depth research and practical programs. Follow on Twitter: @ Resource Link: www.nesta.org.uk/blog/designing-digital-democracy-short-guide
The same Internet that has given us new ways to socialize, learn, and engage in civic life has also given criminals new avenues to steal from us and scam us, often using information gleaned from public government documents now posted online. And because no one’s in charge, there’s no single authority we can call to complain.
When does our personal information become public? What data collection is acceptable? Should there be limits on what we can do online? It’s time to find a way to balance our needs to safeguard privacy, preserve free speech, and ensure security for all our citizens, young and old.
It’s time to answer the question: What should go on the Internet?
This issue guide was prepared for the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation, and is an updated version (2013) of a previous guide about the Internet.This issue guide presents three options for deliberation: Option One: “Protect Individual Privacy” Privacy is a fundamental American value. But the Internet has obliterated the line between public and private, forcing Americans to live in a virtual fishbowl. Our top priority must be to safeguard personal information on the Internet. Option Two: “Promote Freedom of Speech and Commerce” The Internet is a revolutionary leap forward for democratic societies and free markets. Direct or indirect censorship by concerned citizens, special interests, or government could stifle this great resource. Option Three: “Secure Us from Online Threats” The Internet is a Wild West of criminal activity that threatens our personal safety, our economic vitality, and our national security. Our top priority must be protecting our children and ourselves. More about the NIFI Issue Guides NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit. Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides. Follow on Twitter: @NIForums. Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/what-should-go-internet-2013
Development of @Stake:
Planning issues often involve conflicting interests coupled with deep resentments and community divides. Building a new highway, for example, is seldom only a question of the highway's design, but the destiny of the land, the community, and individual residents.
We were amazed at the success of @Stake in driving productive conversation at our UNDP workshop, and took it back to the Lab for further development. Since then, it's been used at the Frontiers of Democracy Conference, The Jewish Federation, youth ambassador programs for inner city planning institutions in Boston, and the United Nations in New York. Numerous expansions and customization packs have made the game robust enough to aid in processes of all types nationally and across the world.
Since its inception, @Stake has become one of our best tools for proving to others that games can be productive civic tools.
How to play @Stake:
What is it about? Before the game takes place, the play group must brainstorm topics for the game. The topics selected should be important questions for whatever real world process matters most to the players and their organization (ex. “How can we get young people more involved in local issues?”).
The Decider Once the question for each round has been established, one player becomes the first “Decider,” the player who will pick from the other players' pitches and determine which is best. It's up to them to keep time, promote fair play, and make prompt decisions in awarding points.
Role Cards All other players are assigned roles such as Mayor, Activist, or Student. Each role card features a short bio and three agenda goals that the players try to include in their pitches for bonus points.
The Pitch Players hear the question for the round, and are then given one minute to devise an idea. Pitching occurs in two phases. Each player has one minute to give their initial pitch to the Decider, and then there is a short discussion period during which players may ask questions of one another and try to achieve compromises to attach their agenda items to others' plans.
Decider At the end of the round, the Decider must pick a winning pitch. That winning player earns points, then every player earns bonus points based on their agenda items. The new decider is the player that won the previous round.
**When playing @Stake, please tweet or use the hashtag #AtStakeGame to share your gameplay moments.About The Engagement Lab The Engagement Lab is an applied research lab at Emerson College focusing on the development and study of games, technology, and new media to enhance civic life. The Lab works directly with its partner communities to design and facilitate civic engagement processes, augment stakeholder deliberation, and broaden the diversity of participants in local decision-making. Along with the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, the Engagement Lab serves as the hub of a global network of engagement and new media organizations. Follow on Twitter: @ Resource Link: http://elab.emerson.edu/games/@stake/
- DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS –Less engaged communities are often critical of the public engagement process. Developing personal relationships with the community can lead to a more inclusive process and community buy-in.
- BUILD COMMUNITY CAPACITY TO PARTICIPATE –Community members have varying degrees of familiarity with local government processes and functions. Providing educational materials or process at the beginning of the public engagement process will allow more meaningful participation from the broad community.
- FIT YOUR PROCESS TO THE PARTICIPANTS– Once you determine the purpose of a public engagement process, think about the range of participants you hope to involve before selecting your approach or process(es) for that involvement. This will help you create opportunities for participation that will be more appropriate and welcoming for participants and reach the diversity community
- GET HELP –Identify and consult community-based and intermediary organizations, including neighborhood and grassroots leadership groups, local clergy, faith-based organizations, community and ethnic media, and others that can as provide two-way conduits for communication between local officials and community residents on specific issues and polices.
- COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY AND RESPECTFULLY –Stay current with your communities changing demographics, and develop culturally and linguistically appropriate communications material and strategies. Recognize the importance of communicating with residents in their first language to ensure their maximum understanding of issues. As appropriate, promote public engagement through ethnic media and other intermediary organizations that already serve and work with the communities you wish to reach. Plan ahead for translation services. Transportation assistance and childcare (perhaps through respected intermediary organizations) can often be helpful.
- BE FLEXIBLE –Hold public meetings or other public engagement processes in community settings that are known and accessible to the communities you wish to reach. Explore what engagement tools and processes will best meet the needs and conditions of specific populations.
- HAVE SPECIFIC GOALS –Take the time to create targeted goals for harder to reach communities. In general, encourage attention and learning about inclusive engagement throughout your agency, and include public information officers in these discussions. Individual departments can develop their own outreach plans to reach specific less engaged communities or populations.
- STAY IN TOUCH– As appropriate, keep current lists of organizations and groups concerned about given issues and keep them informed of opportunities to participate.
- SAY THANK YOU & FOLLOW UP –Express your appreciation for those who do become involved. Let participants know how their input was considered and impacted decisions.
- KEEP LEARNING –Follow up after specific engagement efforts to determine what worked and what could be improved
- BUILD IT IN –Explore the integration of diverse community voices as a part of your overall strategy to inform and support the goals and programs of local government.
People in communities in Miami Dade County want to live in a place where they have access to quality affordable health care. People talk about health care in different ways. But when they talk about health care, one thing that always comes up is access in our community. Health care access issues are everywhere. It may look different in rural places than it does in cities or suburbs. But there are things about health care access that look the same in all these places. Access to health care may look different to each of us. A single parent might view access to health care as an unaffordable luxury. A senior who enjoyed health care while employed may be overwhelmed by the added burden of paying for health care after retirement. Some people may struggle to understand the complicated forms required to access some health care programs. A person who has health care through her employer may not worry about access for others. People new to the United States may not trust our institutions, or they may be worried that their immigrant status will affect their access to health care.
This discussion guide will help us talk about the kind of health care access we want to see in our community. No community is doing well when some of its members are denied health care. If we work on increasing access to health care, we can have a better community. And, by working on making the community better, we can improve access to health care. These two important tasks go hand in hand. Access to health care affects us all. Even wealthy parts of the community may struggle with health care access. We need to share our vision of what kind of community we want. We need to take action to change things so that we all can thrive.The manual gives a break down of the five meetings and how they will lead to action to address the health care access issues in Dade County.
Meeting One: Get to know each other, talk about how we are connected to the issue, and begin to look at barriers to health care access.
Meeting Two: Create a vision of a community where everyone has access to health care and talk about what the health care system looks like in this community.
Meeting Three: Talk about why there are health care access barriers in this community.
Meeting Four: Talk about ways to reduce or eliminate barriers to health care access.
Meeting Five: Talk about the assets in our community and talk about how to make our ideas from Meeting Four happen.This discussion guide was part of a larger civic engagement effort of multiple agencies within Dade County, to improve the community's access to health care. In 1998, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched a nationwide initiative called, "Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved" and Miami was one of thirteen sites. The dialogues sessions described in this manual, in addition to the overall contribution of over 700 community members in similar dialogue processes; would become the recommendations for the Miami Action Plan (MAP) for Access to Health Care. Download the PDF below. Resource Link: Access_Through_Action_Manual This resource was submitted by Everyday Democracy via their Issue Guide Exchange.