CivilTalk Team: making democracy work

photo Marybeth Falzareno

Team Chair:  Marybeth Falzareno: civiltalk@lwvbae.org

Regular meeting times are the second Wednesday of every month 6:15-8:15 pm in the LWVBAE office, 2530 San Pablo, Suite F, Berkeley. [Sierra Club and Ecology Center are at the front of the building; our office is in the back hallway.]

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday October 11, 6:15-8:15 pm

Democracy requires collaboration. Our newly renamed CivilTalk Team: making democracy work is  researching several different methods of structured civil discourse on  controversial topics.

We’re planning a demonstration and training on Sunday, Dec. 3. Read more below and put on your calendar.

CIVILTALK Team Offers Training Dec 3

We  have been researching and getting training on  methods developed by other experienced groups. We are evaluating these methods and selecting a few to learn, practice, and teach to other Leaguers and other community groups and members.

The CivilTalk Team is determined to demonstrate and teach some of the best  formats we have learned and tested. We even have some models ready for you to learn, practice and use.

During elections, voters need to be able to discuss benefits and drawbacks of complex choices safely and pragmatically.

When communities are strongly divided on civic issues, they need to discuss the issues and make decisions that community members with opposing views will accept and support.

Come join our cause. Contact us at civiltalk@lwvbae.org

Finding common ground is the foundation of democracy. Our new team builds bridges for civil conversations, benefiting organizers and participants willing to listen non-defensively and dig deeper.

Step outside your comfort zone. Come by to help research, experience and compare methods; we’ll develop ways to reproduce best practices for creating and monitoring structured, respectful dialogues with favorite topics!

Background

The CivilTalk Team initially formed as the Making Democracy Work Team  in Spring 2017 because recognizing the urgent need to have more civil discussions with people outside our normal sphere.  To seek commonalities rather than simply stating our opinions.

Our long term goals are to help:

  • Return to respectful communication in public discourse
  • Return to finding common ground rather than domination
  • Improve the mental health of the community
  • Move away from the polarity of parties

We have connected with the National Issues Forum who have an expertise in convening and facilitating forums for deliberation, seeking commonality among diverse participants. So they can provide the “nuts and bolts” of how to do such a forum. We in the League want to engage all community members in democracy. It is a beginning partnership but holds much promise.

Some topics we are considering  are safety and justice, climate change, and wealth disparity.