THE VISTA: March 2024

In March, we celebrate the “radical roots” of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in the US. Many are reflecting that 2024 is a big year for women and democracy around the world, and find inspiration in the stories and lessons of women mobilizing within democracy movements globally. It’s important to make the linkages between anti-feminism and anti-democratic developments as outlined in this new report on Strongmen and Violence. We appreciate this School of International Futures’ honoring of the archetypal heroine’s journey both in the past and those blazing a new future. And, don’t miss the recently released Feminist Influencing Basket of Resources from Oxfam that offers practical tools based in radical healing, love, and care to shift dominant narratives and strengthen our movements. If you didn’t get to attend in person or virtually, you can watch Maria J. Stephan, Horizons’ Chief Organizer’s recent presentation at MWEG’s (Mormon Women for Ethical Government) national conference on Women Power: How Nonviolent Action Can Build Just and Peaceful Democracies.

We continue to be inspired by organizations like Keseb helping us learn from global pro-democracy champions, especially when US organizers and their counterparts come together to reflect on shared challenges such as this great overview of key insights from Hungary. Recognizing why the far right in the US is drawn to anti-democratic leaders like Viktor Orban is important, and as Rachel Kleinfeld recently wrote, we must continue to connect the dots on how and why civic space is closing in the US and around the world. Horizons believes it’s also important to draw lessons from the past, for example successful efforts to fight Nazi disinformation campaigns in the UK as we continue to struggle with the information environment described by Secretary Blinken in his remarks at the third Summit for Democracy in South Korea this month.

Finally, Horizons continues to be seized with the dampening effects of threats and political violence on US democracy in this election cycle and beyond, and we are collaborating closely with the 22nd Century Initiative, Hardy Merriman, and many other partners to develop a training program focused on how communities can mobilize and make threats of PV backfire against perpetrators. (Congratulations to 22CI on their new website which is choc-full of wonderful resources that you should check out). Using threats and intimidation tactics is a key part of the Authoritarian Playbook, so you don’t want to miss the Violence and Democracy Impact Tracker from Protect Democracy and the SNF Agora Institute that calculates the impact of political violence on eight distinct pillars of democracy in the United States. Also, check out the American Autocracy Threat Tracker from Just Security.

Finally, you can hear more from us in this short video about why Horizons created a new Director role for Race and Democracy; read our recent publication on the need to Defend Democracy by Expanding the Agenda; and check out Maria’s article in Sojourners magazine that is now cross-posted on our website, Can Multiracial Democracy Survive?

Enjoy these additional resources that we are reading, watching, and listening to:


Collective Healing for Systems Change: The Evolving Conversation
by Kerry Graham, Collective Change Lab

In 2023, the Collective Change Lab and the Wellbeing Project co-hosted a series of webinars on trauma healing and systems change. Renowned social change leaders shared their perspectives on: Why we as a sector need to integrate a trauma-lens into how we see and interpret the “conditions holding problems in place” as well as how we design solutions; why it’s important to shift the current focus on individual trauma to a much wider frame that takes intergenerational, collective, and historical trauma into account; and, how to integrate collective healing practices into the work of systems change. Regarding intergenerational trauma in particular, this older video from Dr. Joy Degruy on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is worth taking the time to watch.

Democracy Notes
by Gabriel Lerner

If you haven’t already signed up for the Democracy Notes Substack, you are missing out! Special friend to Horizons, Gabriel Lerner, is curating many helpful resources, including these podcast interviews that offer a summary of recent events such as: a Principles First Summit recap with Scott Warren from SNF Agora Institute and Matt Germer from R Street; a Knight Media Forum recap with Elizabeth Green from Votebeat & Chalkbeat; and S. Mitra Kalita from URL Media; and, a Civic Learning Week recap with Elizabeth Clay Roy from Generation Citizen and Abbie Kaplan from iCivics.

Why Spain is Trusting Trans Teens on their Gender, instead of Restricting Them
by Domique Soguel, Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor has been organizing its coverage of global issues according to values, such as trust, hope, and security amongst many others. This article is just one example of their special project on Rebuilding Trust.Behind every news event are the values that drive people and nations. See how they offer a deeper, clearer understanding of the latest stories, or sort through all our stories by the different values beneath them.” Some of insights raised within this article about Spain: “It’s not that we parents are extra progressive parents who like these things….no, we are normal moms and dads and we want our son to be a son and our daughter to be a daughter. But more than that, we have to be loving people to our children and love has to be above all else.”

The (Identity) Politics of Reparations
by Trevor Smith

Creating lasting and durable change to realize reparations will rely on ‘situating social identity formation as a north star of our strategies’…Just as people identifying as “abolitionists” helped abolish slavery, it will take a critical mass of “reparationists” to achieve reparations. According to David Ragland, co-founder and co-executive director of The Truth Telling Project, there is a difference between what it looks like to show up as a Black reparationist versus a non-Black reparationist. ‘We walk through the world differently and with different levels of threat depending on where we are,’ says Ragland…a power analysis and a deep understanding of how we’ve arrived at this point of racial inequality and racial hierarchy will be crucial in the upcoming years to grow the movement for reparations…true liberation lies in living our lives through these frameworks.” 


What Young Leaders Want – and Don’t Want – from Older Allies
by Cogenerate (formerly

In this short video, you can hear directly from participants who engaged in deep conversations across generational lines to inform the recently launched report: What Young Leaders Want – and Don’t Want – from Older Allies. Some of the key highlights include a reminder that we must forge a personal connection before collaboration; that no one wants to be dismissed because of their age; and that the future of leadership is co-generational! If you’d like to hear more from these impressive young leaders, you can watch the report’s launch webinar here.

Conservative Views on Trump 2.0
Firing Line with Margaret Hoover on PBS

In this live forum, Margaret Hoover sits down with Protect Democracy’s Amanda Carpenter, one of the authors of The Authoritarian Playbook for 2025, and the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Gonzalez, one of the contributors to Project 2025. From Protect Democracy’s newsletter, If You Can Keep It, “Two telling insights from the conversation: (1) The “deep state” myth is pervasive. The conceit behind Heritage’s program is that Trump’s first-term agenda was stymied by unelected civil servants (not the rule of law and high-profile Republican appointees, like John Kelly and Mike Pence, who refused to break laws on Trump’s behalf). This feeds into a second, even more dangerous myth that our institutions survived a first term — why would a second be different? Well, the answer is pretty simple: people. The people who put their constitutional oaths before Trump’s orders last time won’t be around next time. Because the Republican Party no longer has room for principled conservatives – who are unwilling to pursue power at any cost.” 

The Indigenous World View | Four Arrows
Entangled World

Four Arrows also known as Wahinkpe Topa or Dr. Don Trent Jacobs is internationally respected for his expertise in Indigeneity and a prolific author, such as his most recent book co-written with Dr. Darcia Narvaez, Restoring the Kinship Worldview: 28 Precepts for Rebalancing Life on Mother Earth. In this episode, Four Arrows explores the Indigenous worldview, non-duality, and origin stories and myths. They talk about anthropocentrism, this idea that humans sit atop the pyramid of life and that everything else on Earth is inferior to and here for humans to use and then discard as they see fit – reflecting that this human-centric worldview lies at the root of our entangled crises and exploring some untraditional ways that worldviews and ultimately culture, might shift.


Exploring the Intersection of Information Integrity, Race, and US Elections
The Sunday Show, Tech Policy Press

At INFORMED 2024, the Knight Foundation brought together experts from policy, academia, and civil society for a series of conversations on democracy in the digital age. All the sessions are available for playback here. This conversation on the intersection of information integrity, race, and US elections was also reprised as a podcast that we highly recommend, with Brandi Collins-Dexter, the author of Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future; Dr. Danielle Brown, the founding director of the LIFT project, which is focused on mapping, networking and resourcing, trusted messengers to dismantle mis- and disinformation narratives that circulate in Black communities and about Black communities and Kathryn Peters one of the co-founders of Democracy Works.

Surprising New Findings on Civic Language, Featuring Amy McIsaac
Keeping PACE with Kristen podcast

“In this episode, Amy McIsaac, Managing Director of Learning and Experimentation at Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) talks about new findings from the Civic Language Perception Project, PACE’s long-term study surveying Americans on their perceptions of civic terms. Amy shares what is most surprising from the findings, including the terms that are bringing Americans together and motivating them to action. You can read a brief overview of the findings here; re-watch the report’s launch webinar here; and sign up for some upcoming deep dives into the research on different topics, such as “patriotism” and insights about GenZ.

What Makes Solidarity So Essential and How Could it Become Even More Transformative
The Review of Democracy podcast

Leah Hunt-Hendrix is interviewed about her new book Solidarity. The Past Present, and Future of a World Changing Idea that she co-authored with Astra Taylor. She “describes what makes solidarity so essential to social movements to advance and expand democratic ambitions; explains why philanthropy should be adapted to grassroots movements rather than vice versa; discusses how solidaristic organizing could become more transformative in the future; and reflects on the intellectual historical context of their book.”

Leading Across Great Divides
Masters of Scale podcast

“Just like private companies, many not-for-profit organizations begin when a founder sees a gap in the market and makes something new to fill it. Ian Bassin is a lawyer, former White House counsel and not-for-profit leader who saw a need to better protect and preserve the building blocks of America’s democratic systems, and steer things away from authoritarianism. His organization, Protect Democracy, brings together stakeholders across political divides to develop products, systems and services related to good governance. And Ian’s workforce has been entirely distributed – with employees now in more than 20 states – from the very beginning. Host Jeff Berman draws out Ian’s story of crafting Protect Democracy’s mission alongside its culture. Hear how Ian gained the confidence, political and financial capital to start his work, and how he aligns an all-remote team.”


Better Together Film Festival

As a part of the 2024 National Week of Conversation, April 15-21, “community spaces across the country will participate in the Better Together Film Festival. Serving as hosting venues for film screenings and follow-up conversations, hundreds of libraries, museums, community centers, churches, colleges, etc. will help bring together diverse groups of people to view films that showcase hopeful stories of bridging divides. Audiences will be invited to engage in facilitated conversations following the screenings. These nonpartisan films were selected for Film Festival because they inspire hope and exemplify how everyday Americans and leaders can find common ground and understanding with each other, despite their differences.” Check out the film titles in the link for more information about each film, including a list of locations where the films will be screened. Register to attend a screening in your community or encourage a local organization to sign up to host a film screening.