My wife and I spent last weekend in Columbia SC, attending a workshop on dot connecting and bridge building initiatives in that surprisingly lively city that is home to both the state government and its flagship university. With a minimal investment on our part (mostly for renting space and providing delicious food), we watched a wonderful and stereotype-busting event unfold. If nothing else, it showed us why locally led initiatives have so much potential. At the same time, it helped me see why those kinds of projects are hard to both get off the ground and sustain in part because of the ways we go about funding social change movements. Together, I came away with a renewed sense of hope but also with a deeper understanding about how hard it is going to be to do this kind of work in ways that could lead to the kind of paradigm shift I’ve been harping on for decades.
Thank you so much for this wonderful write up, Chip, and for the opportunity to connect with Nilanka and Kabrina and connect our networks. What an energizing and profound experience. Here's to deepening relationships and connections in the South and in solidarity. Onwards!
I love this so much, Chip -- not least the pragmatic hopefulness the place-based approach to reconciliation and co-creation exudes. And also your delight at being a dot and people connector 😊
I know many of the local sparkplugs there (not a long list!) so let me know if you'd like to orchestrate an exploratory call with some SB folks.
Thanks for this interesting field report! One city which I think has most of the hallmarks you mention (several universities, vibrant civil society orgs, even a progressive-minded city hall/city council) is South Bend IN, where I recently spent a couple of years involved in an anti-gentrification effort. Folks at Notre Dame's Kroc Institute might want to be collaborative on such an effort.