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Participate in NCDD’s #BridgingOurDivides Campaign

As the election winds down, ballots are counted, and the debates about the many decisions on the ballot finally have clear outcomes, we have arrived at a time when we as a field need to take stock of what we should do next. A major theme of our NCDD 2016 conference in Boston was how D&D practitioners can help repair our country’s social and political fabric, both after this bruising and bitter election year, but also in light of many of the longer-standing divisions in our country.

NCDD has made an ongoing commitment to answering that question, and as part of that commitment, we are calling on our members and others to enlist in our new #BridgingOurDivides campaign!

In this new effort, NCDD is asking our members to help us collect information about the projects, initiatives, or efforts that you and others are undertaking to help our nation heal our divisions and move forward together, with a special focus onncdd_resources collecting the best shareable resources that folks are using to support or spark bridge building conversations in the aftermath of the election and beyond.

To do that, we ask that you share about those efforts and resources in the comments section of this post – post your links, write ups, reports, and descriptions that will help NCDD and others learn about divide bridging efforts you’re connected to, whether they are election-related or not.

In addition, we want to foster a broad conversation about what our field is doing and offering to bring people together to discuss difference and find common ground, so we are encouraging everyone to join the conversation on social media by sharing those comments, resources, links, and thoughts about this work using the hashtag #BridgingOurDivides. This will be a great way to increase the visibility of our field’s work, and we hope it also increases support for NCDD, so we encourage you to include a link to NCDD’s “Get Involved” page at www.ncdd.org/getinvolved, too! (You can also use the shorter bit.ly/ncddinvolve for tweets.)

There are already some great efforts to bring people together across divides in the NCDD network now:

  • The Utah Citizen Summit is being convened by the Salt Lake Civil Network and the Bridge Alliance as part of the ongoing effort to help bridge partisan divides
  • Essential Partners is working to start forward-looking, post-election conversations on social media with their #AfterNov8 hashtag, which we encourage everyone to participate in alongside the #BridgingOurDivides conversation
  • The Americans Listen project is calling on everyday people to have empathetic, one to one listening conversations with Trump supporters about both what they find appealing about his message and what keeps non-supporters from really hearing their concerns

These are just a few examples of projects that are #BridgingOurDivides, and we know that the NCDD network is full of thoughtful, creative people engaged in many more. So tell us – what are you doing or planning to do that is bridging our divides? Not just the divides exposed or widened during the election, but the ones that were there before as well? Share all about it in the comments section below and on social media!

Our nation’s divides, whether related to the election or not, didn’t emerge over night, and they certainly won’t be bridged overnight either. But we at NCDD believe they can be healed – one conversation at a time. Join us in helping the world see how, and support us in this effort.

Roshan Bliss on LinkedinRoshan Bliss on Twitter
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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We always encourage a lively exchange of ideas, whether online or off. Questions? Please feel free to contact us directly.

  1. The Iowa Program for Public Life will be starting the Hawkeye Issue Caucus to get @Iowa students to caucus for issues, not just candidates. Neighbors talking with neighbors about what they value can help us start #BridgingOurDivides

  2. Grande Lum says:

    The Divided Community Project at The Ohio State Moritz College of Law (@TrustDCP) strengthens community efforts to transform division into action. The project focuses on increasing resilience and building trust to make real progress in identifying and meaningfully addressing the causes of community division.

    We have created some great resources at our website (http://go.osu.edu/dividedcommunityproject) including two reports that distills wisdom from community leaders and dispute resolution specialists who have gone through community unrest in cities like Sanford, Florida and Ferguson Missouri and helped increase resilience and trust in making progress on the underlying issues. Also check out two blog posts published in the last 24 hours on the Divided Community Project’s work:



    Community leaders who plan ahead can help in #BridgingOurDivides

  3. Keiva says:

    Eric Liu recently wrote this article, “Americans Don’t Need Reconciliation—They Need to Get Better at Arguing” it’s an important reflection on the deep work needed to do in order to move forward and work on bridging divides. Highly recommend the read: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/post-election-reconciliation/506027/

    “So before Americans embark on a lot of bridge-building it behooves us to ask just where we’re trying to go.… a rush to reunion can entrench injustice.“

    • Fel Jones says:

      Excellent Atlantic article. Thanks, Keiva,

    • Julie Regalado says:

      This is such a good point. We need to be really careful not to fall into complacency or denial under the guise of reconciliation or unity. The differences need to be exposed & expressed, how we do this is crucial.

  4. Lucas Cioffi says:

    Roshan, since you wrote this post, it’s become clear that there’s a tremendous need for dialogue right now.

    Here’s our plan for 31 days of evening video chats with breakout sessions: http://americantownhalls.org (Nov 17-Dec 17, 2016). These video chats are open & free.

  5. We are hosting a community conversation on the subject this Sunday, November 20, at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton, Washington.



    This gathering is designed particularly for racially white members of our community to look deeply into our role in building powerful multi-racial momentum that will be essential to resist destruction from prejudice—and to nourish liberating, generative, sustaining, and restorative principles. One of our first steps is preparing to receive and hold the pain of those the most at risk. Experienced facilitators Belinda Griswold and Bert Hopkins will guide us in practice and reflection that both honors loss and ignites our will for action.

    We are inspired by the folks at White Awake who shared this reflection.

    “If you, like me, are European American, let’s be honest with ourselves. These are our people. We are ‘inside the enemy lines’, and the enemy is us. No one can afford for white people of a progressive persuasion to distance ourselves, freak out, or flail in righteous indignation. We have got to face this—with all our strength, all our passion, and all of our vulnerability. This is the heart of ‘America’ and we are in it. We cannot run away. Organize with your friends and neighbors. Strengthen your bonds with the people of color in your life, and find out how best you can support them. And stay engaged.”

  6. Todd Schenk says:

    Thank you for all your work – it seems more important now than ever. Here at Virginia Tech, we have been working on the ‘Frenemies Project’ (www.frenemiesproject.org) to disseminate and experiment with a suite of approaches for facilitating more civil discourse. We then had a #FrenemiesDay on November 9th. More info, including media coverage, is at http://www.frenemiesday.com.

  7. Ron Levy says:

    In response to the question in the blog post about what we’re all doing about deliberation post-election: my coauthor (Prof. Graeme Orr) and I are in the interesting position of launching our book tonight on The Law of Deliberative Democracy’. Our position is that there is no better time to be thinking seriously about ways to improve political deliberation.

    Here is the link to the book: https://www.routledge.com/The-Law-of-Deliberative-Democracy/Levy-Orr/p/book/9780415705004

  8. Dave Gamrath says:

    Please join us at our workshop: Transforming Pain, Fear and Anger to Action on Sunday December 4th from 1:30-4:30PM at Westside Unitarians Universalist Congregation, in West Seattle. This event is in partnership with multiple organizations. Come join us! It’s free!! Please register for forum at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2716318

    Organizations to date that have partnered include:
    Call of Compassion NW
    Hate Free Delridge

  9. Our office, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts, released this document just before the election, but it seems appropriate moving forward as well. It is a training guide for facilitators looking to hold political discussions on campus. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us (idhe [at] tufts.edu)! — http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/FacilitatingPoliticalDialoguesWorkshop.pdf

  10. Mike Huggins says:

    The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) is coordinating a campus/community racism dialogue initiative called Circles of Change using the Everyday Democracy racism dialogue materials. In November we will be providing training to an initial group of 30 community, student, and faculty facilitators on facilitating racism dialogues and on the participant discussion guide that is being customized for use in Eau Claire. Two pilot dialogues will be held in February 2017 to vet the facilitator training and refine the discussion guide. In the Fall 2017 10-12 dialogue groups of campus and community members will be convened for the 6 session conversations. In December all the participants will be brought together to celebrate the dialogue experience and to form action teams based on the recommendations for action generated in the final session of the dialogues. Action teams will then receive additional training in Clear Vision problem solving and actions skills and supported in their subsequent implementation efforts. The process will be repeated in the Fall of 2018 and potentially on an annually basis.

  11. The civic engagement and civil discourse project Bring It to The Table has been screening in communities and on college campuses as an entertaining, accessible way to spark open dialogue and active listening across the political divide. Use the DVD of the 40 minute documentary and the accompanying downloadable study guide to host film screenings and talk backs in your community. Bring people with diverse identities and opinions together! We believe this work is needed now more than ever and we are eager to make this tool available to all. Pls email Impact Producer, Kathy Leichter @ Kathy@bringit2thetable.org or go to bringit2thetable.org/#home for more information.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for writing this and posing the question. Its been a couple months, but this feels more relevant than ever as we approach this weekend. At my work place, Round Sky Solutions, I’ve noticed a renewed commitment to our work in cooperative management is our response. We’ve renewed our commitment to understanding and working toward healthy, generative, and distributed power.

    We just launched an online course, Collab 101 (www.roundskysolutions.com/collab-101), a toolkit that includes an analysis of power, conflict resolution/prevention practices, and facilitation skills. Building our teams to be efficient, effective and collaborative work environments that can use the energy of conflict towards positive action, that can help teams innovatively solve problems, and that ensures all team members are a part of the decision making process is our answer to this very real division.

    Thanks again for providing this space.
    on behalf of the Round Sky Solutions Team

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