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Digital overwhelm and tribal politics have poisoned America's civic discourse.
Let's replace the silos that divide us with meaningful conversation.
In 2016, I quit my job to help elect Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States. Serving as a field organization in Broward County, Florida. I witnessed how our failure to communicate is at the heart of our political dysfunction. Technology only widens the distance between us.
How? Because social media and the Internet let us operate in silos and a values vacuum. In our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we only interact with people we already know or who share our life experiences and beliefs, and are ideologically aligned with us.
We spend more time on social media and less time interacting with each other. The result is that we can no longer access, hear, or civilly engage with important viewpoints that differ from our own.
Progress is built on trust. To trust one another, we have to understand each other. And understanding starts with dialogue.
In a time of political polarization and strife, what we need more than anything is trust. To trust one another, we have to understand each other. Understanding starts with dialogue and knowing the values we have in common, the beliefs that we share.
Conversations humanize us. Forget Facebook, forget your newsfeed, forget the Twittersphere. Face-to-face dialogue is where change begins.
The Town Hall Tour will deliver four core benefits:
- Dialogue: Beginning with structured questions and facilitated conversation, community members will have the chance to share their experiences and voice their priorities. Engaging in a space rooted in respect and compassion will allow all participants to feel welcome and heard.
- Understanding: By explicitly voicing their ideas in a way that they can be broadly seen and understood, participants will be able to clearly understand the common ground they share with their neighbors.
- Trust: By listening to one another's ideals and concerns, all participants will gain a more human understanding of one another. Through human connection, and a deeper awareness of their priorities and needs, participants will have the chance to build solidarity and common cause, even with those they might not have previously thought to be their allies.
- Progress: A clear understanding of shared values and vision for the future provides a foundation for collaboration. Through open, structured dialogue, community members will gain a clear frame from which to organize future action and elect capable leaders.
This project builds on successful efforts to use collaborative tools of community engagements to empower community members to clearly understand one another and work together for change.
The Purpose Power Tour will run from March to May 2019. The tour across America will begin in the northeast and move through 15 cities. At various points during the campaign, we’ll be asking our backers to help us decide the exact tour locations and their sequence, but we know we’ll be going to:
New England | New York | Virginia
North Carolina | Alabama | Mississippi | Tennessee
Colorado | Kansas | Nebraska | Wisconsin | Michigan
Ohio | Pennsylvania | Florida
During the tour, we’ll be hosting community events in partnership with local organizations in democracy reform and social justice.
These community events will focus on four key themes:
The values that should guide us and our leaders
The challenges affecting our communities
Each community's shared vision for the future
How leaders and community members can collaborate to advance their shared vision
Through these conversations, we will empower participants with conviction and community that catalyze action toward our shared future vision.
Each town halls will bring communities together and inspire them to stay connected and engaged.
Participants will receive an Engagement Toolkit that empowers community members to continue hosting structured, deep and meaningful conversations that advance a shared commitment to common cause.
Participants will leave the Town Hall excited, connected, and empowered to work together towards a shared vision of future progress.
The funding we raise through this campaign will go towards
Venues | Staff & Operations | Promotion | Engagement Toolkit Design & Production
The funds raised through this campaign will provide comprehensive support for the tour in the following ways:
- Venues: In every community, the Town Hall will take place in a central and accessible venue. This campaign will fund these venues.
- Staff & Operations: Producing thoughtful events takes time and effort. We'll be hiring a rock star producer to oversee every little detail, and a multimedia team to capture what happens at every Town Hall for posterity.
- Promotion: We'll capture everything that happens during every tour stop on video and compile it into an online forum where Americans across the country can connect and discover their shared conviction. This campaign will fund the creation and curation of this online portal.
- Engagement Toolkit: Prior to the tour kickoff, this campaign will fund a gathering of facilitators and engagement strategists who will collaboratively develop the engagement approach. At every Town Hall, attendees will receive a toolkit that will empower them to continue to convene and facilitate conversations within their community.
I’m Alicia Bonner Ness, author of Purpose Power I believe that trust is the foundation of progress and we can’t do anything alone. Since the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, I’ve dedicated my life to reimagining politics.
In 2017, I launched Heptagon Productions, a brand activation agency, that transforms and accelerates how the social sector can engage for change. I pioneered a 7-step framework, the Heptagon Method, designed to take mission-driven brands from ideology to action, using a human-centered design and open ideation to help organizations translate their purpose into impact.
Then, I wrote Purpose Power, my forthcoming book, to define how we can work together to build movements towards progress.
I draw on my personal and professional experience, as well as extensive research, to offer a provocative framework that can help advocates for change disrupt the status quo.
Let's meet. Let’s talk. Let’s find our shared values and transform the future together
Thank you for your support for this campaign.
Join us at a town hall near you and make this future possible.