CHANGE IN THE MAKING
AUDACIOUS INITIATIVES I’VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF WORKING ON
THE VISION PROJECT
Initiated in 2016 by New Kings Democrats, the Vision Project invites Brooklyn Democrats to think and talk together about what would make the Brooklyn Democratic Party more reflective of our values and more effective at creating the kind of society we all want to live in. I’ve been a proud member of the Vision Project team, developing the engagement methods we’ve used to empower Brooklyn Democrats to envision the Democratic Party of the Future. This project has the power to change our perspective on politics, to not just focus on winning in the here and now, but to set a long-range vision for the future, to define the values we all believe in and the change we want to see in the world. Read more about how Brooklyn Democrats are working together to define their shared vision at visionprojectbk.com.
LABGOV & THE CO-CITY
Created in Rome in 2011, the LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons (“LabGov“) is the pioneer of the Co-City, a new mode of civic engagement that empowers the public, private, and social sectors to better meet the needs of city residents through collaborative experiments. LabGov seeks to foster a culture of civic experimentation that empowers students, scholars, experts, and activists, alongside leaders in business and government, to influence the future form that social, economic and legal institutions take to advance social inclusion.
Since 2017, I have been excited to work with LabGov on a series of events. In December 2017, we hosted a group of 20 civic leaders at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy to envision how the Co-City Approach can be expanded and utilized in cities around the world. In a political climate dominated by division, distrust, and fear, cities provide an important space for civic entrepreneurship. By empowering a city’s inhabitants to participate in shaping policy priorities and the local economy, cities can foster a richer, positive relationship between people and their local government. When people participate in shaping the urban commons, they develop new skills, community relationships, and embrace a collaborative ethos that fosters social cohesion and economic opportunity. When local communities are more engaged, they are also more coherent and strong. Together, leaders from around the world sought to foster civic entrepreneurship and social cohesion to make their cities increasingly resilience and equitable.
This summer, we were excited to host a second Co-City Co-Design session at the We Make the City Festival in Amsterdam.
In October 2017, I had the chance to give a TED talk at TEDxSpringfield, in Springfield, MA. The talk, the Transformative Power of Purpose, explored how purpose finds us, through the lens of my own travels around the world in 2015.
“Too many of us set out to live the lives we think we should. Who defines the “should” is variable. For most of us, it comes from any number of sources: from parents, our community, society at large, our religion -- the list of “should”-ers is long. When we do what we think we should, we’re contorting ourselves into someone else’s vision of our life. We are trying so hard to meet someone else’s expectations, we lose track of our own. I realized how easy it is for us to succumb to our own weakness, to believe the voice in our head that negates us and puts us down.”
“As changemakers, strategists, and entrepreneurs, we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable, to meet uncertainty with the clarity of conviction, and to seek out support.”
“It takes courage to take center stage, to dedicate yourself to your craft, and to dance with uncertainty. And it’s hard to summon that courage alone. You need collaborators, strategists, writers, designers, product managers, and of course, customers. One way or another, my purpose has always been helping other people find theirs.”
“An ambitious vision, while awesome and awe-inspiring, is necessary but insufficient to sustain future progress. Cataloging your values along with your vision can help you hone in on your why. When you add your values to your vision, that’s where you find your purpose. By starting with why, and placing your values and vision at the heart of your life and work, you create a moral compass that will always guide you, helping you manifest the change you wish to see in the world. By prioritizing our higher purpose in this way, each of us can play a pivotal role in reshaping the whole of humanity.”
The Unrig the System Summit, hosted by Represent.Us, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending political bribery — brought together top advocacy leaders, academics, celebrities, musicians, comedians, activists and philanthropists from across the political spectrum for three days in New Orleans. The three-day summit showcased the largest set of state and local political reform campaigns since the 1970s post-Watergate era. More than 1,500 summit participants from all 50 states convened to draw battle plans for campaigns to end gerrymandering in Ohio, Michigan, Utah, Missouri and Oklahoma; ethics and campaign finance reform in South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Massachusetts, Arizona, Colorado, California and New Mexico; voting and election reform efforts in Florida, Maine and Nevada, and dozens of other legislative and legal fights happening in cities and states from coast to coast.
“This is an epic fight between good and evil for the soul of our democracy, and we’re hell bent on winning,” said Josh Silver, co-founder and director of Represent.Us, the nonpartisan anti-corruption group that organized the Unrig the System Summit.
Heptagon Productions was proud to produce this extraordinary inaugural event, which included panels, roundtable discussions, more than 50 keynote talks, and a half-day Unconference inspired by conference attendees. Look for the next #UnrigSummit in February 2019. Learn more at unrigsummit.com