Doing Democracy

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What Democracy Feels Like! Free book

Everyday Democracy: Ideas and tools for community change

What Democracy Feels Like

What Democracy Feels Like coverIf you've participated in one of our dialogue-to-change programs or other community engagement event, you might have thought to yourself, "This is what democracy feels like!"

At Everyday Democracy, we strive to make democracy something that happens not just on election day, but every day. Our founder, Paul J. Aicher, envisioned a country where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard and improve public life.

What Democracy Feels Like was published in 2002, and offered a comprehensive account of the work and passion that ultimately led to the creation of Everyday Democracy. We are pleased to announce this commemorative re-issue of the booklet to celebrate our first annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award (nominations close June 15).

Many of the stories and themes in this book are just as true today as the day they were written.

Quote from Paul Aicherhttps://gallery.mailchimp.com/bf5aadaf6dea1e16881e8288b/images/93b9..." width="350" class="CToWUd" />When Paul's wife Joyce passed away last fall, we wanted to find a way to honor the generosity, caring, and commitment to voice and justice that characterized Paul and Joyce’s lives. This award will acknowledge the work of an individual and/or organization that demonstrates the values on which Everyday Democracy was founded – voice, connection, racial equity, and communities that work for all.

Paul passed away just after this booklet was published, but the commitment and passion described in these pages continue to guide our work and have touched tens of thousands of people in hundreds of communities.

Three women talking

Our work has continued to grow and evolve, as our country and our democracy have faced new opportunities and challenges. We deepened our learning on structural racism and economic inequality through two large-scale evaluations of our work. That led to our commitment to use a racial equity lens in all our internal and external work. In 2008, the Study Circles Resource Center (the primary project of Paul's foundation) changed its name to Everyday Democracy to highlight the ultimate goal of all that we do. Today, we are working with leaders and organizations throughout the country to greatly expand communities’ access to our resources and coaching.

A group of people sitting in a semi-circle and talking to each otherA group of students writing on a chalkboard

Paul’s ultimate vision was a democracy where people have regular opportunities to come together across divides to share honestly, listen to each other, have a voice in public decisions, and find ways to work together to create equitable communities. We are honored to work with you to carry out that vision.

We hope you enjoy this celebration of our history and work, and find inspiration, as we have, about how it can inform and inspire our efforts into the future.

We invite you download the commemorative re-issue of this booklet and nominate a person or organization that demonstrates the values on which Everyday Democracy was founded (nominations close June 15).

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