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Antelope Valley Times: Palmdale awarded Village Square grant



Palmdale-city-logo-300x300News from our Village Square Davenport Institute grantee, the City of Palmdale!

PALMDALE – The City of Palmdale has been named as one of two cities in California to receive a 2014 Village Square Grant through Pepperdine University’s Davenport Institute.

Along with Palo Alto, Palmdale will receive services and expenses valued at $15,000 through the Village Square’s “Dinner at the Square” program, which is designed to improve the way residents in diverse communities engage with one another.

Read the entire article online at the AV Times.



In best CSPAN call ever, Mom calls out politically-feuding sons



Hat tip to Florence Snyder for finding this gem, it came to me with her note “finally, some good news!”

Screen shot 2014-12-16 at 1.02.39 PM










This Thanksgiving, “may there be some grace to people across the table…”



I found myself with my soul kind of squeezed out watching what happened in Ferguson Monday night. It was really upsetting. And I’ve never looked forward to a Thanksgiving like I am to this one and so I just want to say thank you to the viewer for watching and thank you to my family for watching and my daughter who turns three on Friday. And for everyone to take a moment, maybe, this Thanksgiving to enlarge their empathic qualities and faculties and to offer some grace to people across the table from them, across the social divide from them, and to give thanks for what we do have.

Chris Hayes, All In



Welcome to our newest Village Square at Broward College



Broward College logoTomorrow night our newest Village Square location launches in Ft. Lauderdale under the leadership of Broward College. We are thrilled to be partnering with them.

From South Florida Business Journal:

Broward College and Village Square, a non-partisan public educational forum, are hosting a series of events designed to spark fact-based debates on a variety of topics, beginning with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

The first event, is Nov. 13, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Huizenga Pavilion, 201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale.

Read the whole article online here.



For those who served.



korean war memorial

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

(Photo credit.)



National Journal: THE BATTLE FOR YOUR BRAIN



national-journalIf you missed it earlier, there is a MUST READ piece in the National Journal written by Brian Resnik about what the Village Square does. Here’s an excerpt about the Village Square:

When people consider themselves to be part of the same team, they do a much better job of dropping their combative stance and processing the world through a less partisan lens.

“You’re not trying to turn liberals into conservatives or vice versa,” Katz says. “But the only way to get people to see the other point of view, even if they don’t agree with it, is to do it in person.”

Katz and his fellow organizers are relying on people finding a common humanity, and in so doing, he is playing to one of the brain’s great strengths: The same tribal cognitive processes that make it easy to turn people against one another can also be harnessed to bring them together.

When people consider themselves to be part of the same team, be it as Village Square participants, as fellow Americans, or even—one might dream—as fellow members of Congress, they do a much better job of dropping their combative stance and processing the world through a less partisan lens.

And we make those identity jumps all the time, as our brains are wired to let us do.

Read the entire, smart, important National Journal piece online.



What are your plans this election night?



My friend Shari sent me this first thing this morning. She agreed to share without excessive royalties.



Kansas City Star: Village Square chapter in KC will hold its first dinner and public conversation Thursday



blue starFrom The Kansas City Star:

Think of the Village Square as a Southern front porch or a small town’s diner counter — a place where folks can come together and talk civilly about community and world issues.

That’s what Allan Katz, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, intends to bring back across the country with the launch of Village Square events. Katz is a co-founder of Village Square, a national organization started seven years ago in Tallahassee, Fla., as a way to restore civil discourse to national politics. The organization’s headquarters are at UMKC.

On Thursday, Katz, a UMKC alum and a former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, and Kansas City’s newly formed chapter of Village Square will have its first local event — Dinner at the Square at 6 p.m. at Kansas City’s Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Read the entire article in the Kansas City Star.



We could all learn something from the Scots today.



scottish flagFrom today’s Washington Post:

The announcement of results came just hours after nearly all (emphasis added) of Scotland turned out to vote on Thursday in a referendum marked by civility and passion… on the whole, the referendum debate was remarkable for the seriousness with which voters weighed such a stark choice, and the peaceful manner in which they expressed it on Thursday.



Mark Schlakman: Get past extreme partisan politics



From Sunday’s Tallahassee Democrat, Mark Schlakman of FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights writes about extreme partisanship and mentions The Village Square:

Closer to home, The Village Square, a project conceived by former Tallahassee city commissioner and U.S. ambassador to Portugal Allan Katz and spearheaded by Liz Joyner, has drawn national acclaim for its efforts to bridge the partisan divide. It was cited by Olympia Snowe, a Republican and former U.S. senator from Maine, who identified both The Village Square and No Labels among eight noteworthy organizations across the nation for their engagement on point.

Read the entire article online at Tallahassee.com.



A Lament for Peace



romberg-ahmedOur regular guest panelist Dr. Parvez Ahmed writes this powerful piece with Village Square’s board member and “Faith, Food, Friday” co-founder Rabbi Jack Romberg:

We write this as two friends, a Jew and a Muslim, both with leadership roles in our respective communities. Together we have broken bread, facilitated interfaith dialogue, and come to the realization that we have the same goal of peace, understanding and respect for people of all faiths and backgrounds. The recent spate of violence between Hamas and Israel presents a new test for us. Yet, in the end, even as we might have some disagreement on the details, or in parsing the conflict, we find that we share the same hopes, ideals and values. We both must wrestle with some inconvenient truths.

Read the entire article online at The Huffington Post.



Tallahassee Democrat: The Village Square expands to new cities



flying-pigFrom yesterday’s Tallahassee Democrat:

What grew out of a contentious 2006 coal-plant debate, is now being embraced elsewhere as a model for fostering civil discourse.

The Village Square, a Tallahassee-based civic and social-engagement organization now in its eighth year, is expanding to Fort Lauderdale, Sacramento and Kansas City, which will serve as the nonprofit’s national hub.

The organization hosts about 20 local programs a year, from the quirky “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” to more serious discussions on public corruption, immigration and Florida’s future. Its purpose is to engage the community in a civil debate on divisive issues in a factual and nonpartisan way.

Read the entire article online at Tallahassee.com.



UMKC Village Square National Center Founders Event launch



This month, University of Missouri at Kansas City is launching the national headquarters for the Village Square and our Kansas City Village Square location. Special guest panelists at the founding members event were Kansas Republican U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder and Missouri Democratic U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver.