THE VISTA: March 2022

WHAT WE’RE READING, WATCHING & LISTENING TO AT HORIZONS

In March, as the war in Ukraine took up so much of our news feeds, we have been inspired by the renewed attention to the need for a global democracy movement and the recognition of our interconnection in a shared fight against authoritarianism. The Horizons team remains committed to elevating the many voices of different disciplines and different perspectives who are committed to finding a way forward together towards a pluralistic, inclusive democracy in the United States and around the world. We have so much to learn from each other. So, in the words of the late and great Secretary Madeleine Albright, “let us buckle our boots, grab a cane if we need one, and march.”

Here are some of the recommendations the Horizons team is inspired to share for this month’s VISTA:

READING

Where Does American Democracy Go From Here?, New York Times Magazine

If we are going to come together to form a larger movement to work for democracy in the United States, we first need to find a common of understanding of the problems we are facing. In this article, six experts across the ideological spectrum discuss how worried we should be out democracy’s future in the US.

How to Resist Manipulation by Embracing All Your Identities: Learning to celebrate complex identities in ourselves and others could help make the world a better place, Greater Good Science Center

“We all contain multiple identities, with those identities vying for primacy in our heads…there is quite a bit of evidence that the world would be a better, more peaceful place if we could hold space for different identities in ourselves and in other people. How can we do that, while resisting efforts to elevate one over all the others in situations of conflict? This article provides some research-based tips.”

Civic Virus: Why Polarization is a Misdiagnosis, The Harwood Institute

Interesting take on the polarization debate. This report posits that Americans don’t really feel polarized or antagonistic toward one another. Rather, that we feel isolated and disoriented, like we are “trapped in a house of mirrors with no way out; in the grips of a perilous fight or flight response.” The authors offer recommendations for “a society that is breaking apart, to give people safe passage to hope” with concrete steps to help us move forward.

Transformative Organizing, Martha Mackenzie, Executive Director of the Civic Power Fund

Coinciding with the recent launch of European Community Organizing Network’s new report on ‘The Power of Organizing’ this article discusses a form of Transformative Organizing that enables the needed transformation of both the individual and society necessary for large scale systemic change.

A Future for All of Us; Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy, Race Forward

“Whether you are an advocate or artist or thinking about how to apply narrative or cultural strategy for the first time, this new report on Immigrant Narrative Strategies is designed to help you think and act at multiple levels —locally, regionally, and nationally.” 

Releasing New Data on Civic Language Perceptions, Kristen Cambell, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)

PACE partnered with Citizen Data to conduct a survey of 5,000 registered voters to understand people’s perceptions of the language associated with “civic engagement and democracy work.” They recently released their data on 21 commonly used terms, and are offering mini grants to support others to dig into the data to surface new findings, and create “bite-sized” content.

A Call to Connection, The Einhorn Collaborative, The Sacred Design Lab, and The Greater Good Science Center

The Einhorn Collaborative commissioned A Call to Connection to help leaders in multiple sectors better understand how vital human connection is to effectively address the challenges of our time. “Weaving together extensive scientific findings, insights from ancient wisdom traditions, beautiful stories, and concrete practices, this primer captures why and how human connection is a necessary and often missing ingredient in many of our efforts to ignite positive social change.”

The Pause, Newsletter of Pádraig Ó Tuama with On Being

Great newsletter to check out! This edition focuses on how even in times of conflict and upheaval, we can train our energy and attention on wonder not wounding; on awe, not war. Links to the recent re-airing of an interview with the esteemed astrophysicist Mario Livio, who spent 24 years working at the Space Telescope Science Institute of the Hubble Telescope. Shares his views of how the languages of art, science, and wonder can open up the human condition to the magnitude of the fact that we are here at all.

WATCHING

The Neuroscience of Trauma and Chronic Stress, Beyond Conflict

As a part of the March Brain Awareness Week of the Dana Foundation, you can re-watch this great panel discussion on how trauma and chronic stress impact the brain, including Vivian Khedari DePierro, Mike Niconchuk and moderated by Sloka Iyengar.

Shifting Mindsets to Shift Development Systems, Laurel Patterson, Head SDG Integration, UNDP

The UNDP describes a new approach to systems change with a focus on inner transformation, highlighting the fact that the ways social divisions, short-termism and siloed ways of responding to interconnected issues are no longer working. They are partnering with the Presencing Institute to help open new spaces to connect and make sense of what we’re all seeing and experiencing. Embedded in the article is a link to a series of videos on “awareness-based collective action

Reframing History: A Conversation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

You can re-watch the launch of the report on Reframing History, including a panel of historians and museum curators, including Clint Smith author of How the Word is Passed  and the head of the Hard Histories program at Johns Hopkins who shared the inspiring tagline: “History tells us how we got here. Hard Histories show us a way forward.”

LISTENING

How to Change the World, Podcast: Hidden Brain

Great interview highlighting the research of Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan on why nonviolent civil resistance works. “Pop culture and conventional history often teach us that violence is the most effective way to produce change. But is that common assumption actually true?”

Probing the Past: How Companies can Address Historical Transgressions, Podcast: The Crux

In this episode Dr. Sarah Federman discusses why she feels every Fortune 500 company should hire a historian an how understanding the past contributes to today’s DEI efforts and the need to accept responsibility, understand the past and respond meaningfully.

Cynefin, Sense Making & Complexity, Podcast: The Deep Dive

Conversation with Dave Snowden, creator of the Cynefin Framework about a range of social change issues, ways of solving complex problems and sensemaking.

INTERESTING TWEETS

The recent Arnold Schwarzenegger video appealing to Russians was given a lot of attention on social media. This is an overview of a social science study on the real persuasive impact of his messages given our polarized context.

Overview of new academic paper on how that parties to a conflict systematically mis-predict our counterparts emotions, specifically feelings of self-threat.

Reflections on Pastor Andy Stanley’s recent remarks to the Georgia House of Representatives. “Do you love the state of Georgia more than you love your party? If not, maybe you should do something else. Disagreement is always going to be there. Disunity is a choice.”

Great narrative advice on why it’s important to NOT amplify the messages you want people to forget.

Western States Center breaks down the recently released Southern Poverty Law Center’s Annual Year in Hate and Extremism Report.