Principles for Inclusive and Equitable Civic Engagement and Transformative Change
Center for Contemporary Culture (1st Floor)
Hartford, CT 06103
- Thursday, April 28, 2022
1:15pm — 3:15pm
Thursday, April 28, 2022
This Stand Against Racism Day event will feature a one-hour keynote address by and Q&A discussion with Dwight “Kip” Holley, a Senior Research Associate with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. This session will be followed by 40 minutes of facilitated, interpretative, and action-oriented small group discussions. The day will close with a 20-minute plenary session during which action ideas derived from the small group discussion will be shared and discussed with the keynote speaker (as discussant). This day’s activities will be open to the general public and are part of the 2022 CT Civic Ambassadors Summit.
Mr. Holley has written and given trainings on the topic of equitable civic engagement through his work at the Kirwan Institute. His 2016 study – The Principles for Equitable and Inclusive Civic Engagement: A Guide to Transformative Change – has led to numerous trainings with civic and community leaders across the US. His work emphasizes the nexus between democracy and racial equity and justice. He notes that some communities (especially those where People of Color live) have been marginalized historically and deprived of resources as well as civic learning and leadership-building opportunities:Our civic environments are where we derive our opportunities to succeed. Some communities have healthy, sustainable, and rich civic and built environments. Others suffered from decades of segregation and disinvestment, leaving residents segregated from opportunities and unable to strongly influence the policies that drive community investment. As a result, residents in these communities have lost the structural and cultural supports necessary to ensure justice and to achieve successful outcomes in their lives. The result is that civic engagement is often viewed as a means of gathering consent for initiatives supported by those with wealth and power, rather than a vehicle for delivering civic power to the community…. For people to exercise their civic power and voice equitably, we must change the way we think about civic engagement, making transformative changes in our longstanding customs, assumptions, and institutions.In his keynote, Holley will define 6 principles of equitable civic engagement, drawing from different humanities disciplines such as history and philosophy. These include: (1) embracing the gifts of diversity; (2) realizing the role of race, power, and injustice; (3) radical hospitality as an invitation and listening practice; (4) trust-building and commitment; (5) honoring dissent and embracing protest; and (6) adaptability to community change. Small group discussions that follow his talk will allow participants to derive strategies for action from that framework. Building on what promises to be a rich discussion on day one, day two of the Summit will center around panel and small group learning and discussions that will advance the work laid out on Stand Against Racism Day. In conversation with guest panelists, participants will address the challenges they face with their civic engagement work in terms of barriers and lack of opportunities rooted in race-based institutional and systemic structures and practices. The day will close with a thirty-minute small group discussion session followed by a fifteen-minute plenary session to lay out a vision and strategies for building a civic culture that addresses various areas of civic engagement, from voting to civics education, organizing, and building civic leadership.
The end goal of this keynote and related sessions is to engage participants in deliberation and agenda-setting for action that aims at making our state’s civic engagement culture and practices more inclusive, disruptive of institutional racist practices, and more transformative of individuals and communities. We hope that through this learning and the vision for transformative civic engagement that it will foster, community and civic leaders will work collectively to build new forms, pathways, and relationships of inclusive civic engagement infused with racial equity and justice values and practices.
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