A Deliberative Dialogue is a process through which community members are able to talk productively about an issue of mutual concern. The goal is to bring more people into the discussion and identify shared areas of interest for action. It is not a debate. It is not about reaching agreement or seeing eye-to-eye. It is about looking for a shared direction driven by what we value the most. Through a Deliberative Dialogue, we examine the benefits and consequences of possible solutions, and find out what we, as a community, can and cannot accept.
The ideas that emerge from these deliberative dialogues will be compiled and shared with the public, the media, and local policymakers. We hope these dialogues lead to further discussions within our community, involving wider circles of people who care about the issue and are willing to work toward a brighter future for everyone in Austin.
In the Deliberative Dialogue process, the participants are the real drivers of the deliberation. The dialogue itself takes place in small groups and lasts for about two hours. Vital to the success of a Deliberative Dialogue is that participants share their views/experiences and respectfully listen to and consider the views/experiences of the other participants. Unique characteristics of the process are that:
In 2018, CAN hosted a series of Deliberative Dialogues focused on the issue of how to address the opioid epidemic. Drug abuse, a problem the United States has faced for decades, has taken a sharp and lethal turn with the rise of Opioids – both legal pain killers such as oxycodone and fentanyl and illegal ones like heroin. In 2015 and 2016, there were 299 deaths in the City of Austin that were attributed to drug overdose and 191 of these deaths were opioid related. Dialogue participants explored options for addressing the Opioid epidemic, discussed possible solutions, and considered the trade-offs involved for each. The facilitated conversations helped participants to better understand the issue from a variety of perspectives and learned what other community members think and feel about the issue.
Click Here to view the issue guide that was used for these community dialogues.
Watch the introductory video that was used during the community dialogues on addressing the opioids epidemic.
The following are a data summary on the issue, a resource guide for treatment and recovery and the summary of the dialogues that were held.
State health officials released a new website that they hope will help educate people about prescription opioid misuse and encourage safe disposal of unused medications. The website, “Dose of Reality,” is available at doseofreality.texas.gov and is available in English and Spanish.
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Serve as a co-sponsor for a deliberative dialogue in September.
Designate a representative to serve on the Deliberative Dialogue Planning Team.
Sign-up for a training session to serve as a moderator for the deliberative dialogue series in September.
Serve on the Deliberative Dialogue Planning Team.
Contact Carlos Soto if you would like to get involved: email@example.com; or 512-414-0323.
In 2017, CAN, iACT and Civic Collaboration hosted a series of Deliberative Dialogues on the topic of Safety and Justice. While local crime rates in our community have declined over recent years, many people still do not feel safe and/or feel that they are not being treated fairly when it comes to law enforcement and criminal justice.The deliberative dialogues brought community members together to discuss and consider how we can increase safety in our community, while at the same time ensure justice. The National Issues Forum developed an issue guide that was used as guide for the community dialogue about how communities can restore goodwill and trust between law enforcement and citizens.
Watch the Introductory Video that was used during the Community Dialogues on Safety and Justice.
Click here to view Local Information about Safety and Justice that was shared during these community dialogues.
In Fall 2017, the Austin deliberative dialogue team convened three dialogue forums with over 90 participants from 45 different zip codes around Austin. The dialogue process was centered around the three approaches that participants were asked to reflect upon: Enforce the Law Together – Expanding policing while strengthening community-police partnerships; Apply the Law Fairly – Remove injustices, reform inequities and improve accountability; and De-escalate and Prevent Violence – Reduce the culture of violence and take direct action to disrupt conflict. Dialogue participants explored each option, discussed possible solutions, and considered the trade-offs involved for each. The output from these conversations were documented in a final report for this dialogue process that outlines the approaches and actions that seemed to resonate the most.
In 2016, CAN, Civic Collaboration, Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) and Leadership Austin hosted a series of Deliberative Dialogues on the topic of Building a Community of Equity and Opportunity. The Austin team was part of a multi-city learning exchange facilitated by the Kettering Foundation that involved individuals and entities from Marin County, California, Columbia, Missouri, and South Florida. The purpose of the learning exchange was to select a local community challenge and to develop the tools and resources that were needed to have a deliberative dialogue on this local challenge.
After selecting the issue of “bridging the economic divide,” the Austin deliberative dialogue team held a series of listening sessions to better understand how members of the community who come from diverse backgrounds feel and talk about this challenging problem. The knowledge gained from the listening session was used to frame the issue guide that was developed for the deliberative dialogue process.
In Spring and Summer 2016, the Austin deliberative dialogue team convened three dialogue forums with close to 100 participants from 39 different zip codes around Austin. The dialogue process was centered around the three approaches that participants were asked to reflect upon: Level the Playing Field; Unleash the Creativity of the Private Sector; and Hold on to What Makes Austin Special. The final report for this dialogue process outlines the approaches and actions that seemed to resonate the most.