Bridging political divides through authentic engagement, storytelling

Are you concerned about the level of animosity and division in our public discourse? Feeling as if your opinion doesn’t count? That no one wants to hear what you have to say? Believe that our country’s political divide is more pronounced than ever?

CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation is participating in an evening of engagement and discussion on Wednesday, May 3. The Community Equity Consortium, with support from Poudre River Public Library District and the CPD in CSU’s Department of Communication Studies, will host the free community dialogue from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fort Collins Senior Center’s Prairie Sage Room (1200 Raintree Drive). The program aims to provide practical tools to create effective community discussions and collaborative solutions.

Not as different as we think

An initial presentation from Professor Martín Carcasson, director of the Center for Public Deliberation, will review what has fueled the extreme polarization.

“Our differences are often overly exaggerated due to quirks of human nature, the impact of the social media and a political system that thrives on division,” Carcasson says. “The research shows that authentic engagement and hearing each other’s stories, on the other hand, can help us find ways to work through our differences more effectively.”

After the presentation, participants will be provided extended opportunities to have discussions facilitated by students from the CSU Center for Public Deliberation to respond to the ideas and hear from each other. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we want to hear from you!

Our hope is that through honest, respectful dialogue, we will begin to realize we’re not as polarized from one another as we might believe.

Guided conversations

Trained facilitators from the Center for Public Deliberation will help guide the conversation at each table. Specific tables will be designated with facilitator-interpreters who will host the conversation in Spanish. The CPD serves as an impartial resource to the northern Colorado community. Working with students trained in small group facilitation, the CPD assists local government, school boards and community organizations by researching issues and developing useful background material, and then designs, facilitates and reports on innovative public events.

Grab a seat at the table

Opposite viewpoints and life experiences are encouraged. An RSVP is requested.

The Department of Communication Studies is part of CSU’s College of Liberal Arts.