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An Appeal to all Members of the D&D Community

If you are based in the U.S., I’d like to ask for your help with an important project. The vast majority of members of congress are not aware of the expertise and skill our community has to offer. They do not know how to tap into the dialogue and deliberation community to serve the purposes of good government – or even that there is such a community.  One project spearheaded by NCDD members Kim and Barnett Pearce aims to begin to change this.

If you’re willing, we ask that you to contact your congressional representative as soon as possible and try to schedule a meeting with them during the first two weeks of April (when they’re in their home districts) in order to: (1) talk to them about what the dialogue and deliberation community has to offer them and (2) extend an invitation to them, on behalf of NCDD, to attend (and/or send a representative to) a meeting on May 30, 2007 at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, titled “Reclaiming Democracy: Changing Public Conversations About Critical Issues.”

This meeting will bring the vital work of the dialogue and deliberation community to the attention of elected government officials, and engage them in conversation about ways in which this community can help them do their jobs better. While we’d like all 435 members of congress to attend our meeting, we will count it a “success” if a few key members attend, a general “buzz” throughout congress gets started about this topic, and the conversation continues.

Go to www.congress.org and enter your zip code to easily get your congress members’ contact info. The staff person you contact in your congress member’s office will probably ask you to identify the issue that concerns you (as a way of sorting through who should talk to you). You should be prepared to describe how an interest in “process” can be used to support any of the many issues that face us. They may ask you to send a short written document before the meeting; we hope that you will customize such a document based on your conversation with the staff person.

Attached to this post are two documents you can use in your meeting with your congressional representative. One is a draft “talking points” paper that you can use as you see fit. The other is a one-page flyer, including date, place, and contact person (Kim Pearce, at her De Anza College email address). This document is meant to be left with your representative.

If you cannot arrange a meeting with your congressperson, please consider hand-delivering documents describing NCDD, the dialogue and deliberation community, and the May 30th meeting to his or her office.  And we encourage you to set up meetings with your state and local representatives as well.

Please let me know if you do attempt to set up meetings with your congress members (email me directly at sandy@thataway.org) so we can send you an updated version of the draft talking points document before the end of the month. We’d also like to hear about your experience since this is a learning process for us, and we plan to continue to encourage members of the D&D community to meet with elected officials to help ensure they are aware of what we have to offer.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. kai says:

    What a wonderful, practical action item for us all. Thanks!

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