THE VISTA: November 2023

This fall was a busy month of convenings for the Horizons’ team, making us particularly aware of the need to make time for building deep community when we are in these spaces together; and, we are reminded of our commitment to relational organizing. One of the amazing events we had the pleasure to help plan and participate in was the Othering & Belonging Institute’s Conference in Berlin in October. You can watch all the sessions on their YouTube Channel, and we would recommend this lovely blog, taking inspiration from one of the conference speakers, Turkish writer Ece Temelkuran, who discussed how we can practically bring love into politics using the example of Ekrem İmamoğlu’s successful Radical Love campaign for Mayor of Istanbul in 2019.

We have spent time participating in convenings of conservatives who are reflecting on their movement’s commitment to democracy, and we found inspiration during a recent gathering with a group of futurists, academics and non-profit leaders who are at the forefront of reimagining democracy and governance. The alarming increase in political violence continues to be the focus of many convenings and discussions, and we are pleased to be partnering with the newly-launched Bedrock, a new nonpartisan organization committed to supporting institutions and leaders reversing the alarming increase in hate-fueled violence in the US. You can watch Maria Stephan’s recent keynote, The Power and Promise of Nonviolent Action, sponsored by the Interfaith Peace Working Group and the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Center for Interfaith Dialogue.

In every space where we gather, we have felt the shared pain of the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel. Horizons continues to reflect on the need for nuance and care for our interpersonal relationships and the role for a stronger peace and justice movement.

Finally, during this season of gratitude in the US, we honor the legacy of Rosalynn Carter and also appreciate this creative video with curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche) from the National Museum of the American Indian discussing the creation of Thanksgiving as a holiday. At Horizons, we continue to be extremely grateful for your partnership(s) and all you’re doing to make the world a better place.

Here are some additional materials we’ve been reading, watching, and listening to:


Cycles of Trauma and Journeys to Wellbeing

by the Wellbeing Project and Georgetown University

Prior to this report, trauma, wellbeing, and social change were examined as related but distinct subjects. The authors and their large group of collaborators from across the world and across disciplines used a systems level analysis to reveal and address the gaps in this paradigm. The resulting “framework is intended to offer a holistic view of trauma and wellbeing that can aid the ongoing global quest for social justice and equity.” And this more complete outlook is needed “to shift vicious cycles of intergenerational trauma toward virtuous cycles of intergenerational wellbeing, we need context and culture-specific strategies for transformation that operate on individual, communal, and systemic levels of relation.”

The military’s secret weapon is … humor

by Theodore R. Johnson, The Washington Post

Theodore Johnson’s recent Veterans Day piece explored the importance of humor in the military and highlighted a recent comedy show featuring veterans hosted by the Armed Services Arts Partnership. (Enjoy the video clips embedded in the article.) This was more than just a comedy show, it served as a jumping off point for the comics and the audience to have conversations about difficult topics which came up in the comics’ sets. “Lots of advice was given, but it boiled down to this, as true for comedians as it is for military men and women telling stories during all the waiting — and for a nation not very good at dialogue lately: You have to know your audience to humor them.”

Workplace Political Polarization

by Ethical Systems, NYU Stern Business and Society Program

We know that workplace polarization is a big concern for business leaders, and one of the entry points for engaging businesses in a pro-democracy agenda to address the root causes of our increasing polarization. This recent report reviews “the factors leading to the current state of extreme polarization and the resulting effects on the workplace, and it explores various potential solutions. Every effort has been made to avoid judgments about the right-left paradigm and to focus on consistent social and psychological factors that are applicable in understanding and responding to political polarization.”

Faith in Elections Playbook

by Interfaith America and Protect Democracy

“The Faith in Elections Playbook supports faith-based, civic and campus communities with accessible, actionable resources to support the 2024 election. This playbook is designed to make it easier for faith and community leaders to join work that is already happening across America to help the 2024 elections run smoothly, so that all eligible voters can access a ballot and every valid vote is counted. [The] purpose in compiling and curating this information, is to enable organizations to focus on taking actions that best align with their interests, their skills, and the needs of their communities.”


2023 Keseb Virtual Global Democracy Champions Summit – Highlights Video

If you missed Keseb’s three-day virtual Summit, you can re-watch all the sessions online. “Keseb engaged in salient conversations around fighting authoritarianism, safeguarding civil liberties, protecting our information ecosystems, and building towards a pluralistic democracy in 15+ sessions with speakers who are democracy entrepreneurs, activists, academics, journalists, philanthropists, and policymakers.”

Multiracial White Supremacy? The Shifting Grounds of Race

Daniel HoSang for Leadership for Democracy and Social Justice’s Public Programming

As part of its commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue and analyzing the context of critical movements, Leadership for Democracy and Social Justice launched this Lecture Series to give social justice leaders the opportunity to delve into topics relevant to movement building. This year’s series focuses on the threat posed by authoritarian populism and how to better organize against it. You don’t want to miss this recent conversation between Scot Nakagawa from 22nd Century Initiative and Daniel HoSang on the changing demographics of white supremacy movements.

The Truth About Civility

The Hopeful Majority with Manu Meel

In this episode of The Hopeful Majority, Manu sits down with author Alexandra Hudson to discuss her new book, The Soul of Civility. They reflect on what civility is, whether it’s even necessary, and have a wide-reaching conversation about Dr. King’s legacy, the difference between civility and politeness, the 2024 election, and much more.

RISE Action Guide Launch Symposium: Opening Plenary

United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

You can re-watch USIP’s recent launch event for the Rehabilitation and (Re)integration through Individual, Social and Structural Engagement (RISE) Action Guide. “[The Guide] provides… a peacebuilding framework to support the rehabilitation of people disengaging from extremist violence as well as their reintegration into, and reconciliation with, local communities. The RISE Action Guide’s overarching goal is to encourage behavioral changes that facilitate disengagement from, and the rejection of, violence by lowering barriers and opening spaces for sustained, positive, inclusive engagement between people disengaging from extremist violence and local community members and institutions.”


Dunking On Trump’s Lawyers Might Not Be The Win You Think It Is

Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick podcast

“What role will the former President’s many many legal woes play in the coming months? A clearer picture is emerging after testimony for the prosecution wrapped in the civil fraud trial against Trump and his adult sons in their roles at the helm of the Trump Organization in New York City [recently]. That picture is of a political candidate claiming to be the victim of an unprecedented legal witch hunt. In other words, as the trials proceed within the courts, a political trial is underway on the courtroom steps, at campaign stops, and in the media. On this podcast episode, Professor Eric Posner, of the University of Chicago Law School, author of The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy from the Founders to Trump, [discusses] political trials – their history and their risks.”

How Do We Remain Bridgebuilders During Times of War?

Interfaith America with Eboo Patel podcast

“Amanda Ripley is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and co-founder of Good Conflict, a media and training company that helps people reimagine conflict. As the violence abroad and at home escalates, Ripley and Patel discuss “high conflict” – what it is, how it impacts individuals and society, and ways to resolve high-conflict situations.”

Interview with Bjørn Ihler

Did Nothing Wrong podcast

You don’t want to miss the conversation with a global leader in the fight against hate and violent extremism, Bjørn Ihler from Glitterpill and the Khalifa-Ihler Institute. In this interview, he discusses how to promote peace and inclusivity in our communities, and how to reach people with an alternative to hate.


Amplifier recently released a new collaboration with Shepard Fairey, including a limited print series to “Defend Democracy.” They have been collaborating with Fairey for over a decade on some of the most important movements of our time, and now consider that “there are few greater than protecting our democracy.” The sales of these prints will fund photographers and photo-based artists to build projects exposing threats to democracy in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

Check out Agents of Influence, a game to teach middle and high school students to combat misinformation and reduce polarization. The game has won several awards including the Aspen Competition on Information Disorder.