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February 18, 2004 - Let's Talk America opportunity

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Joined: 20 Jan 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Brattleboro, VT

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 9:17 pm    Post subject: February 18, 2004 - Let's Talk America opportunity Reply with quote

Attention NCDD members!

As many of you know, NCDD has been working with Utne Magazine, Conversation Cafés, The World Café and now the Democracy in America Convention to spark nation-wide dialogue called Let’s Talk America about the future of our democracy that will move us beyond the polarization of left and right.

We’ve all been hearing about how our nation is more deeply divided than ever – about how we feel about the President, about the war, about gay marriage, about just about everything. We believe that the time is ripe for a national dialogue on the state of our democracy. One that is inclusive of all the viewpoints on the political spectrum. Such a conversation is the idea behind Let’s Talk America!

The organizing committee of Let’s Talk America (LTA) has been reaching out to member organizations on both the right and the left, extending an invitation to explore what unites as a nation. Let’s Talk America trusts that what we have in common may be greater than we realize–while what divides us may be less than we imagine.

We invite you to join us as we lend our support to this important work. With your help, this groundbreaking initiative can potentially engage millions of people in a dialogue on democracy during this election year.

How does LTA Work?

Let’s Talk America is designed as a self-organizing way to link inquiry-based conversations across the nation. Whether convenors decide to use the Conversation Café or World Café model or another model, learnings, insights and outcomes are harvested from the groups and sent back to the LTA design committee so that the knowledge generated can be shared effectively with the media and decision-makers. Using similar technology to, the LTA website will provide people with a means to locate and sign up for LTA dialogue groups in their local area.

How can you help?

As a member of NCDD, we invite you to contribute your time and expertise in convening and hosting one or more LTA dialogues. LTA will provide you with a hosting template and resources that you can tailor to fit your personal style. While LTA is inviting numerous organizations to encourage their members to host or attend an LTA dialogue, there is no substitute for tapping into existing networks. Those of you who are able to act as connectors to “people different from us” can ensure that LTA is successful in bringing together as many diverse viewpoints as possible.

What is the timeframe for LTA?

The LTA Design Committee has been organizing since last Fall. The Let’s Talk America website is live and by the end of February you will be able to download complete descriptions of the initiative, a list of invited member organizations, a template for hosting LTA and other helpful documents. Our vision is to have everything in place for you to begin convening LTA dialogues among your network of contacts by mid-March. In May, there will be a three-day Democracy in America Convention in Springfield, Illinois, attended by about 300 people including senior representatives from various special interest and media groups. In September we will organize a National Day of Dialogue with conversations occurring in all 50 states. All of these various conversations will be linked to each other, allowing us to access not only the voice but also the substantive ideas of “We the People of the United States.” This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in what may well be the biggest dialogue initiative ever launched.

What to do if you are interested in helping?

Email [email protected] and let us know, or go to for more info. We hope that, with your help, Let’s Talk America can bring the principles and practice of dialogue to a huge audience hungry for authentic conversation.

With appreciation for all you do,

Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD Convenor
on behalf of the Let’s Talk America Design Team

Good conversation is not only satisfying, it’s the first step toward changing the world.”
- Jay Walljasper, Utne Magazine
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