The Village Square: Local Color

Saving Democracy by Teaching Folks How To Disagree about Race, Faith, + Politics (Over a Beer).

The Problem

In the wake of tragic events fueling racial division across America, it is now a national imperative to build local capacity to address tensions. Unless this civic “muscle” is intentionally formed and exercised in advance, catalyzing events will further polarize disconnected groups as they turn to broadcast and social media that inevitably drive citizens apart rather than toward diverse neighbors with a shared stake in the community.

*Imagine* if in times of turmoil, citizens in communities turned towards their neighbors rather than their TVs and phones. To successfully move from catalyzing events to generating solutions, a community must have the core capacity to stay constructively engaged in the midst of crisis. (That's where we come in.)

The Solution

Local Color is a city-focused program that works to build community capacity for discussions about race. The goal of the program is to connect citizens of all races & political ideologies together to create a strong empathy that will quell racial tensions in response to a racially-oriented community crisis. This means creating a “civic muscle” through capacity-building techniques. The Village Square will act as community conveners to gather citizens together to make empathy-building connection points.

In essence, when others separate to complain or destroy "the other", we gather to speak, listen, & learn. We make our communities stronger because of our differences, not in spite of them. We are building a community of people across ideological & demographic diversity who routinely gather in trendy local civic space where authentic conversation happens on tough issues on a consistent basis. By doing this, we divert local energy from divisive social and national media at times of tension and toward gathering with diverse neighbors in constructive engagement.

We rarely agree about anything... and it's awesome.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

The Village Square

This project was nominated by: