In October, we were pleased to present New Hampshire Listens with an inaugural American Civic Collaboration Award, or a Civvy - the first national awards program celebrating collaborative efforts to improve communities. New Hampshire Listens facilitates civil conversation in the state of New Hampshire on controversial public challenges. We caught up with them on the experience and their goals for 2018.
What are your hopes for the upcoming year?
At NH Listens, we are focused on building and strengthening sustained and inclusive opportunities for collaboration and civic engagement in New Hampshire. Our hope is that the awareness of political divisiveness will usher in a renewed commitment to building social trust and identifying shared work locally. Everyone should feel they can shape the community in which they live. We want to be a part of making that happen.
Why is collaboration important in today’s politics?
We are so skilled at creating opposing teams and working in silos. In some ways, this has worked really well! But we need new tools in our tool kit. We hear a lot about how connected we are through technology – but we still need face to face opportunities so we can take advantage of that power. Our challenges are complex and we are too easily divided if we let stereotypes and a “thin” view of one another prevail. The work of knowing each other across our differences – politics, identity, geography – is central to creating a shared future.
What do you wish people who have lost hope knew?
We want those who have lost hope to have the experience of truly belonging and feeling welcomed and accepted in their community. Part of belonging means having a voice that is heard and respected; Not just with family or friends, but with a broader community.
What does winning a Civvys mean to you?
Winning an American Civic Collaboration Award has been deeply validating. We have been excited to celebrate and share the news. We are also planning to highlight the award as a vote of confidence to supporters and funders so we can deepen the work and strengthen the research and practice base in our field.