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Example 1: In Decatur and Beyond, It All Starts with a Conversation

“Addressing diversity issues in your community can be difficult and complex.  Many look to Decatur, Georgia as an example of inclusion, diversity & citizen engagement.  The city routinely  engages many different sectors of the community in addressing challenges, ranging from affordable housing to race equity issues to community police relations – going beyond the traditional public comment or public hearing to true and ongoing dialogue with many different sectors of the community.  It all started with a conversation – a conversation that has economic, racial, age, gender and religiously diverse representation, and that is reflective of the composition of the community itself.”

Jon Abercrombie, Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy, says, “we all recognize the need to keep dialogues active, inclusive, racially and economically diverse, and driven toward action and progressive change.”

Everyday Democracy is a local group that provides opportunities to unite people together to talk about current issues using what they call a “study circle.” These conversations have been able to “address a serious funding and sustainability issue” in the public schools. Additionally, they have created more conversations on topics like “improving affordable housing, building trusting relationships while addressing racial equity with police…and working on a plan to remove a confederate memorial on the public square.”

Decatur has seen tremendous success in asking the local community members to aid in finding solutions to their local problems. They have seen over 1,000 residents come together in various forms to present their ideas and solutions in how to make their community better. 

Community members speaking with each other around tables.