This comprehensive 157-page guide, Organizing Community-wide Dialogue for Action and Change, from Everyday Democracy was published September 2001, to help develop a community-wide dialogue to change program from start to finish. Part 1 of the guide gives an overview of Community-wide dialogue “study circles”, and Part 2 is how to organize a program: clarifying the issues, building your team, developing a plan and sustaining a program. Part 3 is about five case study community profiles from: Georgia, North Carolina, New York, California, and Illinois.
The guide can be downloaded here.
From the guide…
Organizing a community-wide study circle program is a complex undertaking. Many things will be happening at the same time: coalition building, communication and publicity, recruiting participants, training facilitators, fund raising, planning for action, and more. The guide is designed to help you understand and carry out the many aspects of community-wide organizing for public dialogue and action.
The Study Circle Process:
The study circle process is not magic or mysterious. It’s simply a tested set of democratic principles and tools for engaging the whole community in all its variety, bringing people together for public dialogue, and combining their ideas and resources to create and implement solutions.
A Community-wide Study Circle Program:
- is organized by a diverse coalition that reflects the whole community.
- includes a large number of participants from all walks of life.
- uses easy-to-use, nonpartisan discussion material.
- uses trained facilitators who reflect the community’s diversity.
- results in specific opportunities to move to action when the study circles conclude.
More about Everyday Democracy
Our mission is to help communities talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone. We work directly with local communities, providing advice and training and flexible how-to resources.
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.
We have learned that some of the key components to ensuring racially-equitable systemic change include building relationships, establishing a diverse coalition, having trained peer facilitators during dialogues, building on assets, and linking actions to individual, community, and policy change. We provide online tools and in-person trainings on organizing, racial equity, facilitation, communications, and action planning. We act as a catalyst and coach for communities, knowing that the people of each community are best suited to carry out and sustain the work that will make a difference.
The communities we serve are the focal point of our work. Our ultimate aim is to help create communities that value everyone’s voice and work for everyone, and to help create a strong national democracy that upholds these principles.
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Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/organizing-community-wide-dialogue-action-and-change
This resource was submitted by Rebecca Reyes, the Communications Manager at Everyday Democracy, via the Add-a-Resource form.