Check out commentaries from Everyday Democracy staff, senior associates, and guest writers on current events and our main issue areas.

Recently I had the chance to spend time with an amazing group of participatory democracy activists and scholars
February is Black History Month, a time to reflect and celebrate the many achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing their critical role in U.S. history. For over 150 years, historically black colleges and universities — more commonly called HBCUs -- have undeniably affected how African Americans gain access to education and new levels of social and economic structures. HBCUs created what we know as the black middle class and culture of activism, civic participation and democratic discourse.
The writings of Martin Luther King continue to urge me to clearer sight and greater urgency on issues of racial justice.
For every one professional athlete, thousands of amateurs play pickup games in the spare time.  For every Broadway actor, hundreds take up theater as a hobby on a community stage. 
Freshly-grown fruits and vegetables used to be a staple in most rural communities, but they are now mostly the stuff of privileged white people. Ostensibly, we would all agree that there is nothing wrong with a mother who wants “good nutrition” for her child. But at what point is “good nutrition” really just code for “entrenched social status?”
Joshua Glenn was 16 years old when police officers arrested and charged him with aggravated assault with a weapon. “They tried to say I shot a guy,” said Glenn. After spending 18 months in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Glenn is taking on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. And he’s not alone.  
There was a time I liked to think of myself as a good person. Like most “good people” if you had asked me if I was racist I would have answered with a resounding “Of course not!” But I have come to learn it’s not that simple. Growing up as a mixed brown and white woman in a mostly white suburb I was used to being on the lookout for micro-aggressions and outright hostility. What evaded me was the idea that I could be continuing the cycle of racism. “I’m brown, so obviously I’m not racist” was a favorite refrain.
It takes civic courage and skill to build a welcoming public space where people of all backgrounds and views can share honestly and listen deeply, especially in the face of so much division. It takes courage to take part in dialogue, to sit down with others, especially when messages of distrust and fear bombard us daily. And it takes courage for elected leaders at all levels to sit down with everyday people and commit to listening to them.          
When people go to prison, their absence often devastates families. But parents across the country have been galvanized by their children’s ordeals not only to advocate for their own children’s freedom, but to band together to challenge and change the policies that have taken their children away. One thing unites them all—they’re not waiting for someone else to make the changes needed to stop the destruction of mass incarceration. They’re going to do it themselves.
For the last several decades, the focus of our education system as shifted from civics to job training, and we have all paid a steep cost. Nobody will make us be citizens. But if we truly care about preserving our democracy for future generations, we need to bring back civic education.


Connecticut Civic Ambassadors are everyday people who care about and engage others in their communities by creating opportunities for civic participation that strengthens our state’s "civic health."

Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.