First Annual Connecticut Civic Summit

November 20, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:        November 20, 2017


Gabe Rosenberg, Office of the Secretary of State, Communications Dir. (203) 981-5825

Liz Dupont-Diehl, Everyday Democracy Communications Director, (203) 667-5956






Calling All Civic Ambassadors!
Be Sworn in as a Civic Ambassador at the First Annual

Connecticut Civic Summit, Saturday, December 2nd 




As people throughout the state and country lose faith in public institutions, it is more important than ever to engage residents with each other and with their government. That is why Everyday Democracy, in partnership with Secretary of the State The Honorable Denise Merrill, launched the Connecticut Civic Ambassadors Initiative in September this year.  CT Civic Ambassadors are catalysts for civic action in Connecticut toward creating stronger civic health and REAL socioeconomic benefits both in terms of social capital and community well-being.


The Initiative is aiming to recruit 100 Civic Ambassadors - young people, adults, and seniors who are actively engaged in their local communities across the state. Individuals who are already Civic Ambassadors, and individuals who may want to step up and play a more active role in their communities are invited to participate in a Civic Ambassadors Summit:



Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hartford Public Library

500 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut

12 noon – 4:30pm


Lunch will be provided.


At the Summit, guest speakers will talk about the importance of strong civic health and benefits of civic participation for building stronger communities, and Civic Ambassadors will share their experiences to learn from each other. They’ll also receive an orientation and a toolkit with information and resources they can use in their efforts.


Panelists and Speakers Expected to Participate at the Summit:


  • The Hon. Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State of Connecticut
  • Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy
  • Prof. Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, Director, UConn Hartford Campus
  • Diane Smith, Principal, Diane Smith Media
  • Mark Abraham, Executive Director, DataHaven Inc.
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Executive Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University
  • Dana Miranda, UConn’s Initiative on Campus Dialogue
  • Richard Frieder, Hartford Decides
  • Valeriano Ramos, Director of Strategic Alliances and Equity Officer Everyday Democracy
  • Pastor Eli Mercado, Hartford Faith-based Initiative
  • Marilyn Calderon, CT Parent Power
  • Sally Whipple, CT Old State House’s CT Kid Governor Program
  • Kim Tipton and daughter Elena Tipton, 2016 CT Kid Governor
  • Melissa Serrano-Adorno, CT Parent Power Mother and her child
  • Stephen Armstrong, State Department of Education
  • Lukas Houle, Newington High School Student and Leader


At the end of the Summit, the Civic Ambassadors will be sworn in during a brief ceremony.


This event is FREE, but registration is required.


Registration and Updated information is available at




About the CT Civic Ambassadors Partners:



CT Secretary of State, State Department of Education
- Red, White, and Blue Schools Project


Launched in 2016, the Red, White, and Blue Schools Project is a collaboration between the Secretary of State’s office and the State Department of Education. The theme last year was Teaching the 2016 election: schools were recognized for teaching the 2016 election in innovative and multidisciplinary ways. Last year 11 schools and/or districts were officially named as “Red, White, and Blue Schools.” This year’s theme is civic engagement at the local level. Students will be asked to design projects and initiatives that address local issues and concerns. This program will help students develop the critical skills necessary to be effective civic ambassadors. Schools include  E.O. Smith High School, Storrs; Lincoln Memorial Middle School, Meriden; Norwich Free Academy; Tolland High School’ Westhill High School, Stamford; Windsor High School; Enfield High School (Outstanding High School Program); Amity/Regional District #5 (Outstanding 7-12 Program); and South Windsor (Outstanding K-12 Program).



Everyday Democracy

Founded in 1989, Everyday Democracy is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since its inception, Everyday Democracy has worked with more than 600 communities by providing advice, training, tools and resources. It also partners with national and local organizations to strengthen the field of dialogue and deliberation and promote a stronger, more equitable democracy.



Hartford Decides

Now entering its third year, Hartford Decide$ (HD) is a participatory budgeting (PB) process in which diverse community members (aged 13 and up) decide democratically how to spend part of a public budget on projects that improve their neighborhoods. HD gives the community real power over real money.  First developed in Brazil in 1989, PB is now being used in about 20 cities in the United States.  Hartford is the first Connecticut city to use PB.  Richard Frieder, of Community Capacity Builders, was one of the founders of HD. A civic innovation, HD provides a unique opportunity for ordinary Hartford residents to work with their public officials, one of the important indicators of strong civic health.


UCONN Initiative on Campus Dialogues
Part of the Humanities Institute at UConn’s Humility & Conviction in Public Life Project, the Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) seeks to bring together research in the humanities with community outreach and engagement. This community-building effort brings together UConn students, staff and faculty, as well as non-university practitioners, around a two-step model focused on dialogue and implementation. ICD’s ultimate goal is to plan and promote productive dialogue over divisive issues in order to create sustainable and infrastructural change, at the university and local level, in the tenor and tone for discussing controversial topics. By creating resources and networks and providing trainings, ICD seeks to build capacity and collaboration for dialogue to be robustly and collectively pursued and promoted within the UConn campus and in its surrounding communities. The initiative builds civic skills and habits for civil dialogue and deliberation on contentious issues.


CT Parent Power

CT Parent Power builds civic and leadership skills among diverse parents who want to engage and advocate on education issues for their children of multi-age groups through a co-created model of empowerment.   CT Parent Power uses a multigenerational approach to work with Connecticut parents and their children to address “real issues” that families are facing today including social, emotional, educational and economic challenges to realize sustainable change.


CT Kid Governor

Connecticut’s Kid Governor is a national award-winning statewide civics program for 5th graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) in 2015. Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, the program offers each school in Connecticut the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. Classes can vote in the election, nominate a classmate to run for office, or both! This year’s Kid Governor is Jessica Brocksom of Milford.

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