MAPPING THE ECOSYSTEM OF SOCIAL CHANGE

This overview was created after a convening of organizations and networks who are endeavoring to map the larger “ecosystem of social change,” including social justice, bridge-building, and democracy organizations, practitioners, and organizers. This is not an exhaustive list of mapping efforts but rather a working document that we intend to periodically update as we learn of more efforts and seek to make sense of the diverse lenses they provide to our understanding of the ecosystem. If you have a map or know of a map that is not listed below but should be please email us at [email protected].

Democracy Strengthening

  • Bridge Alliance: Bridge Alliance created their Democracy Field Overview which combines civic engagement, electoral reform, policy and issues work of the many unique organizations and funders working within the political and civic reform sectors. It is a useful tool for those in the democracy field to learn about complementary work.
  • Citizen Connect: Citizen Connect is a website with many organizations from the bridging field & democracy spaces – a place where ordinary citizens can go to find out what’s going on and how to get engaged. The website currently has 600+ organizations and has the potential to become a coordinating space for larger ecosystem efforts.
  • Critical Connections Forum: CCF sought to get to know the democracy landscape (including 300+ different organizations). CCF sought to get to know the democracy landscape, and includes 300+ different organizations. They identified several areas in which to dig deeper: Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT), bridging, bottom-up political organizing, and participatory governance. They are making sense of the democracy “movement of movements” and identifying where critical connections have not yet been made. They have connected with others through the Co-Intelligence Institute. They’re largely focused on building baseline maps of the current state of relationships of organizations. Caleb from CCF authored Organizing for collective impact: The making of a mass pro-democracy movement which drew on this map.
  • FixUS: FixUS has developed their Landscape Review to curate the many existing organizations devoted to improving the state of US democracy through political, economic, cultural, and other changes.
  • Mapping American Social Movements: This project produces and displays free interactive maps showing the historical geography of dozens of social movements that have influenced American life and politics since the late 19th century, including radical movements, civil rights movements, labor movements, women’s movements, and more. This project allows us to see where social movements were active and where not, helping us better understand patterns of influence and endurance.
  • SNF Agora Institute: Mapping the Modern Agora integrates big data on civil society organizations to map the modern agora at scale. Specifically, it creates a comprehensive map of the civic life in US communities, develops a more coherent classification scheme for civil society, and develops new lines of research and inquiry that can emerge from creating a picture of the whole. They aspire to map not only the geographic aspects of civil society, but also the digital ones. And they hope is that this can become a tool for researchers and practitioners to better understand, make sense of, and invest in strengthening civic spaces in modern democracies.
  • Uphold Our Democracy: Uphold Our Democracy is currently mapping the US democracy space to inform next steps and a future strategy for the informal coalition that came together in 2020. They are looking at mapping the bridgers, social justice movement leaders, people working on democracy reform efforts, and then folks in the litigation space. They’ve also identified two periphery groups: funders and other the core members of the Uphold Our Democracy Coalition, as it was initially convened. Uphold did work on an initial mapping of organizations and training resources in 2020 that is publicly available here. Relatedly, there is the Global Democracy Coalition. This coalition is run by International Idea and Counterpart International and is very focused on The Summit for Democracy.

Nonviolent Action Campaigns

  • Crowd Counting Consortium: The CCC has been tracking nonviolent protest activity across the US since January 2017 (demonstrations, rallies, including things like campaign rallies, strikes and other labor actions and nonviolent direct actions.) It’s a large database of geo-coded events including information such as participating organizations, crowd size, participant claims, protest reasons, protester tactics, police and counter protester responses, and issue tags. Data is publicly available via a GitHub repository where compiled versions of the data are updated on a weekly basis. It’s attempting to make available data sets that scholars can use to identify and analyze causes and consequences of trends within the United States. CCC has also worked with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

Polarization/Bridgebuilding

  • Divided We Fall: Divided We Fall has created an ecosystem map of the bridge-building community as part of their Framework for the Bridge Building Ecosystem. They see this effort as a potential first step toward growing participation and collaboration across this ecosystem. This guide contains over 200 organizations that work on at least one of the following topics: Dialogue and Engagement, Youth and University, Advocacy and Research, Media and Journalism, and Technology.

Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation

  • Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth: RJOY is engaged with a few mapping initiatives, particularly focused on truth telling, racial healing, and reparations initiatives in the United States. Much of their work is focused on how to weave these networks, identifying those who are under the radar or on the margins and those who are at the center of the work. Based on their connections, RJOY seeks to bring folks closer together to build relationships. By really centering their work on relationships, they seek to support the sustainability of the network to be able to weave itself. These efforts have led to the extension of the Iowa City Truth Telling Commission and a few other initiatives.

  • The Bridging Divides Initiative: In partnership with the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Movement BDI has mapped TRHT Movement Organizations and Transitional Justice Initiatives in the United States, overlaying some of those members with local government-led TRHT initiatives (collected by the New England School of Law), and/or with some other efforts affiliated with George Mason University’s Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation.

Violence Prevention/De-Escalation

  • Over Zero: Over Zero has been mapping groups that are focused on preventing and addressing political violence (many of whom don’t do that as their primary purpose but are playing a major role). They interviewed 50+ civil society groups in the US (state and national) and 12 international experts with experience in over 120 countries to develop this map and observed several different forums and roundtables over time. The team is in the process of finalizing a write-up and visuals.
  • Peace Direct: Peace Direct’s primary purpose for mapping is to recognize local peace builders who are oftentimes doing work but are simply not recognized. On Martin Luther King Day in 2019 they mapped US peacebuilding. They have mapped about 200 racial justice efforts across this country—though some call it different things (e.g., “legal defense,” “water protection,” “peacebuilding with a racial focus,” or leaving out the word “peace” all together). Their primary audience are local organizations, and they seek to build networks through their Local Action Fund (LAF).
  • The Bridging Divides Initiative: The Bridging Divides Initiative started as a mapping effort to try and understand both risk and resilience at a local level and make connections between them. BDI worked with ACLED to start their US-based coding, and they have a visualization of that data, also overlapping with some of the organizational data they compile. They often combine other types of event data around political violence and demonstrations, including about 12 different indicators to look at risk at a county level (specifically risk of political violence and democratic disruption.) This is displayed on a heatmap of the US and updated every two months. They collaborate with the Carter Center and some researchers at GW on this effort. They also work with Thought Partnerships Hub.

    One of their initial (and now dormant) efforts was a map of organizations that do bridging work that is available on their website. This bridging map serves as a template to show a lot of other different bridging efforts. In the last year they also started looking at threats and harassment of local officials together with the Anti-Defamation League and now the National League of Cities. They are planning to be able to share some initial details on that as early as October. Because of the sensitivity of the information, this data would be available by request-only. They developed a de-escalation directory, organizations that are offering de-escalation or bystander intervention training and/or Training of Trainers.

Violent Extremism