A companion post discusses a great need for truth, reconciliation, and justice about past injustices in our society. This post identifies some organizations in our field that work to promote these goals and uses language from their websites to describe their activities. If you know of any resources that should be added to this list, please add them in a comment, with a link if possible.
AllSides is a multi-partisan organization designed to free people from “filter bubbles” so that people can better understand the world and each other. Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so people can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant. It uses a crowd-driven, patented technology to develop bias ratings for news sources.
AllSides for Schools
AllSides for Schools helps educators teach essential skills in critical thinking, collaboration, listening and respectful discourse, media literacy and social-emotional learning. Its unique focus on building relationships and revealing multiple viewpoints across the political spectrum avoids potential problems with bias and disrespecting individual beliefs.
The Bridge Alliance is a diverse coalition of more than 90 respected established organizations committed to revitalizing democratic practice in America. Since it’s often difficult for any one group to fully capture public attention or broadly popularize solutions, it increases its power by working together. It is organized to focus on three broad areas: civic engagement, governance and policymaking, and campaign and election processes. Each member agrees to adhere to its “Four Principles”: (1) Alliance members believe that our country is stronger when our leaders work together constructively to meet the challenges we face. (2) Alliance members advocate a stronger voice for citizens in the political and social process. (3) Alliance members believe that respectful, civil discourse is necessary for genuine problem-solving to address our great challenges. (4) Alliance members are committed to exploring learning from each other and aligning their efforts to support each other for raising the collective visibility and impact of all member organizations.
Divided Community Project
The Divided Community Project, housed at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, was developed to make a tangible, constructive contribution to helping leaders and citizens in communities seared by tensions, unrest, and civil discord to strengthen and expand their capacity and resiliency meet these challenges. It grew out of an April 2015 meeting of diverse community leaders and mediators from across the United States who have experience dealing with civil unrest. The meeting was so productive in terms of identifying “lessons learned” that participants urged the organizers to compile, organize, and transmit those lessons to leaders in government, business and the legal profession, the faith community, and others with an opportunity to contribute.
The Project’s initial focus was to transform the insights and lessons of dispute resolution interveners into tangible principles, guidelines, and suggestions that local public officials and community leaders could immediately deploy to strengthen their broad-based capacity to meet such challenges. Initially, it produced two reports: (1) Planning in Advance of Civil Unrest, proactive ideas to plan in advance of civil unrest; and (2) Key Considerations for Community Leaders Facing Civil Unrest, suggestions targeted at building community trust during an ongoing community crisis. In April 2017, it issued a report, Divided Communities and Social Media: Strategies for Community Leaders, that is the culmination of an effort by civic leaders, social media experts, public information officers, non-profit leaders and academics from data governance, dispute resolution and technology to consider how to help community leaders respond to the opportunities and challenges of social media in the context of community division.
Essential Partners Project
The Essential Partners Project (formerly Public Conversations), is organized to foster constructive dialogue where conflicts are driven by differences in identity, beliefs, and values. It has worked for three decades to facilitate conversations and equip people using its approach to dialogue. It offers a method that is applicable and adaptable to a wide variety of contexts. The method, Reflective Structured Dialogue, relies on preparation, structure, questions, facilitation, and reflection to enable people to harness their capacity to have the conversations they need to have. If offers workshops, custom training, and dialogue facilitation, as well as consultation to equip people to have meaningful conversations about essential issues so they can move forward and create a better way of living together.
Listen First Project
The Listen First Project encourages conversations that prioritize understanding to bridge divides and mend our frayed social fabric. Increasingly in America today, people don’t just disagree. We dislike, distrust, even despise those who see the world differently. We’re withdrawing from conversations — eroding relationships and understanding. Experts say the solution is to cultivate more positive social connections. The project promotes the power of starting new conversations that move from “us vs. them” to “me and you” to turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division. It creates opportunities and teaches skills for conversations that tip the scales toward a stronger and more equitable future for our nation and better relationships in our daily lives. It catalyzes the #ListenFirst movement powered by more than 150 partner organizations, thousands of individuals, National Conversation Project, and local chapters around the world. It focuses on society at large, schools, and workplaces and recognizes those who champion the Listen First mission.
Living Room Conversations
Living Room Conversations was founded in 2010 to revitalize civil discourse through conversation. It seeks to develop a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds learn to work together with respect – and even joy – to realize the vibrant future we all desire for ourselves and our families. By applying and adapting its conversational model, it helps participants will build relationships that generate understanding and enable collaborative problem-solving. Its process creates a structured, intimate conversation format to empower everyday citizens to discuss important issues with friends of differing political affiliations and backgrounds. The theory was that if two friends with different points of view, each invited two friends to join a conversation, with full disclosure about the intent and structure of the conversation, they could create a safe space for a respectful and meaningful exchange of ideas, develop new relationships and perhaps find common ground. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation is a network of innovators who bring bring together and support people, organizations, and resources in ways that expand the power of discussion to benefit society. It envisions a future in which all people – regardless of income, position, background or education – can engage regularly in lively, thoughtful, and challenging discussions about what really matters to them, in ways that have a positive impact on their lives and their world. It seeks a society in which systems and structures support and advance inclusive, constructive dialogue and deliberation. The network includes more than 700 individuals and organizations helping communities have more productive conversations on what matters most. It has four broad categories of activities: (1) maintaining a resource and news clearinghouse, (2) developing new resources to educate the public and the D&D community about dialogue & deliberation work, (3) developing a vibrant community of practice, and (4) serving as a facilitative leader and convenor in our community. It embraces and demonstrates the following values and principles: collaboration and active participation, openness and transparency, inclusivity, balance, curiosity and commitment to learning, action, and service to others.
Pluralism, Dialogue, and Community Transformation Initiative
The Pluralism, Dialogue, and Community Transformation Initiative promotes pluralism – where a society, a system of government, or an organization that has different groups that keep their identities while existing with other groups or a more dominant group. It is based on the premise that various religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society. The Initiative seeks to hold dialogues on any topics that introduce and the possibilities of restorative communities, globally, partnering with others, as consultants, conveners and facilitators. The goals of these dialogues include enhancing understanding of others’ views, defusing polarization, overcoming stereotypes, and relationship building. It works on issues including interfaith issues, gender, family, bullying, violence, and race relations. Its services can be provided in any location where there is a need. In some circumstances, these services can also be provided virtually using available technology.
Village Square Project
The Village Square Project is a non-partisan public educational forum on matters of local, state, and national importance. It is dedicated to maintaining factual accuracy in civic and political debate by growing civil dialog on divisive issues, and recalling the history and principles at the foundation of our democracy. It builds community across the ideological, racial, ethnic and religious divisions that have prevented us from addressing the challenges we face together.