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Belonging and Civic Muscle after November 3rd
Photo by Kari Sullivan on Unsplash
The election will happen, and no matter the outcome, we must move forward. There is no doubt that many people— including people we care about deeply— will be saddened by the results regardless of the outcome, and maybe even be very angry. Our nation is arguably more divided than ever and will likely become more so after November 3rd. But, if we hope to heal rifts, we have to embrace robust dialogue that cross divides and increase our sense of belonging. We need to commit to healing communities and raising hope for a bright future for our nation’s children.
Community transformation comes from the ground up by those that care. Community transformation also comes from those with agency. Stewards like you are out there, working right now to improve lives and conditions and will continue to do so—but perhaps most importantly, we must work harder to ensure everyone—even those we disagree with, and especially those who do not look like us—has agency and a welcomed seat at the table.
“Higher levels of social cohesion are associated with higher levels of trust, cooperation, and social capital, providing the necessary foundation for working together across groups and sectors, and building the “civic infrastructure” for community members to co-create a shared future. These patterns can create a virtuous cycle – working together supports stronger communication and develops a sense of connectedness and mutual obligation.”—from Belonging and Civic Muscle as a Vital Condition
A Springboard for Renewing Civic Muscle
A wealth of new resources are available to help bring diverse groups together and guide discussions that can be uncomfortable at times. We’ve curated a list of resources and guides to support communities to maintain and build belonging and civic muscle through and after the upcoming presidential election because we see it as imperative to moving forward after November 3rd.
Thriving Together: a Springboard for Equitable Recovery & Resilience has a section on Renewing Civic Muscle and offers a primer on pathways to doing just that. We also offer a library of all the tools and resources mentioned in the Springboard document.
“CIVIC LIFE IS ABOUT LIVING, LEARNING, AND WORKING TOGETHER, as shared stewards, to shape our common world. It encompasses the infinite ways that people may connect and contribute to their community and society: from voting in an election, organizing a neighborhood arts festival, standing up for a just cause, or doing everyday work with pride in its public impacts and civic significance.” --Thriving Together: a Springboard for Equitable Recovery & Resilience, pg. 80
Engaging People with Lived Experience
According to a report put out by 100 Million Healthier Lives, the Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation (SCALE) initiative found that “partnership and collaboration with people with lived experience (PWLE) of a core issue or inequity was one of the most effective strategies to create lasting community transformation. Bringing PWLE into the work at all levels—in particular at the leadership level—brings wonderful depth, growth and discoveries.” The Engaging People with Lived Experience Toolkit helps is focused on those who may need the support in doing this work and offers strategies, tips, and resources that help create a high-functioning team
Our country can come together again. It will take hard work and lots of dialogue, but the effort will make us strong and more resilient.