Democracy Reignited: A Special Initiative of Florida Humanities
In 2020, Florida Humanities launched “Democracy Reignited,” a new, multi-year civic engagement initiative created in partnership with non-profit organizations statewide. Through these partnerships, Florida Humanities is hosting a variety of public programs that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture, examine our foundational documents and principles, and explore the connections between democracy, the humanities and an informed citizenry. A primary focus has been placed on conversation-based programs that bring diverse public audiences together for thoughtful discussions on challenging issues that both unite and divide us. “Democracy Reignited” will culminate in 2026 when our nation marks the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Upcoming Virtual Programs
Chloé Valdary: The Theory of Enchantment
Thursday, December 1 @ 7:00 pm EST (via Zoom)
After spending a year as a Bartley fellow at the Wall Street Journal, Chloé Valdary developed The Theory of Enchantment, an innovative framework for compassionate antiracism that combines social-emotional learning, character development, and interpersonal growth as tools for leadership development in the boardroom and beyond. She has also lectured in universities across America, including Harvard and Georgetown. Her work has been covered in Psychology Today Magazine, and her writings have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
I Never Thought of It That Way with Mónica Guzmán
Ready to fight back against the confusion, heartbreak, and madness of a dangerously divided time? Then you’re in luck because journalist, author and Braver Angels’ Senior Fellow for Public Practice Mónica Guzmán joined Florida Humanities and The Village Square Oct. 27, 2022 to deliver brilliant, yet relatable solutions derived from her new book, “I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.”
Through personal stories, research results and the shared passion of bridge building, facilitator Manu Meel, CEO of Bridge USA, and Guzmán, “a proud liberal daughter of conservative parents,” tapped into a beautiful conversation about the power of being curious, communicating through our values and concerns and how we must listen to and work with others across our political divide.
How to Have Better Political Conversations or: Ending this Zombie Apocalypse with Dr. Robb Willer
On Sept. 15, 2022, Dr. Robb Willer, director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab at Stanford University and a sociology professor, joined Florida Humanities and The Village Square as part of our Democracy Reignited speaker series. Dr. Willer studies social and psychological forces shaping Americans’ political attitudes. During his fascinating conversation with facilitator, Civic Health Project Executive Director Kristin Hansen, he shared insights on reducing polarization, bridging the ideological divide and how we can improve the way we talk politics using highly-related, scientifically-grounded methods.
Majority Minority with Justin Guest
On May 19, Florida Humanities and The Village Square hosted a special virtual event with Justin Gest, author and associate professor of policy and government at George Mason University. Gest, also a noted op-ed writer and news commentator, has written many books on the politics of immigration and demographic change, including the latest “Majority Minority” (Oxford University Press, March 2022). The book examines six societies across the world that have made the transition to when “one ethnic or racial group loses its numerical advantage to one or more other minority groups.”
Here, Gest is joined by BridgeUSA CEO Manu Meel for an incredibly engaging and thought-provoking conversation that explores one of the greatest societal challenges of our time and how Gest believes our country can best understand — and prepare for — the demographic phenomenon.
Can't-Miss Conversation! When the Stars Begin to Fall with Theodore R. Johnson
On March 31, Florida Humanities and The Village Square hosted a special virtual event with Dr. Theodore R. Johnson, Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, to discuss his debut book, “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America.” In it, the public policy scholar and military veteran delivers an optimistic, but honest and raw look at how we all can walk a path toward a multiracial national solidarity. Florida Humanities Executive Director Nashid Madyun joined Johnson for an incredibly compelling, must-watch conversation exploring the parallels between Johnson’s book and the challenging times we live in and issues that are dividing us
A Must Watch! A Defense of Truth with Jonathan Rauch, facilitated by Aaron Sharockman
Facilitated by Aaron Sharockman, Executive Director of PolitiFact, based at the Poynter Institute.
Online trolls and political disinformation. Cancel culture and Twitter pile-ons. We’re living in a time when truth itself is under perpetual assault by growing numbers of our fellow citizens (and more than a few Russian bots) who simply don’t want to believe anything that they — well — didn’t already want to believe. This rising tide of illiberalism from across the political spectrum has many of us yammering on until we turn blue about respectful disagreement and the marketplace of ideas. But what if defenders of truth are missing the most fundamental conceptual revolution at the very core of this American experiment and the enlightenment — of western civilization itself? Jonathan Rauch connects our past to our present challenge as he introduces us to “The Constitution of Knowledge” — the extraordinary system of how we flawed humans gain knowledge that scales and endures. Rauch argues we must know the constitution of knowledge exists if we are to have any hope of defending it.
In case you missed it! Our Declaration: An evening with Dr. Danielle Allen
Dr. Danielle Allen, Harvard University Professor, classicist, and political scientist, and author of “Our Declaration,” a book about this critical moment in the future of building a multiracial democracy, joined us at a time when the future of American democracy is under threat from across the political spectrum and a disturbingly high number of citizens seem to no longer believe in the American project. Dr. Allen’s body of work thrillingly affirms the continuing relevance of America’s founding text, ultimately revealing what democracy actually means and what it asks of us. Part democracy’s orator and part its master mechanic, Dr. Allen is uniquely equipped to guide us to the other side of our current crisis of faith in democracy. This important conversation was offered in partnership with The Village Square and facilitated by Florida Humanities Executive Director, Dr. Nashid Madyun.
Watch Now! High Conflict: An Evening With Amanda Ripley
New York Times bestselling author and award-winning investigative journalist Amanda Ripley joined us to offer up a brilliant and frame-shifting understanding of conflict from the most distant political conflict to the most intimately personal conflict in our closest relationships from her most recent book “High Conflict: Why We Get Stuck and How We Get Out.” As Amanda introduces us to compelling people in high conflict situations in this life-changing book, we learn how very human it is for us to let the unique dynamics of high conflict take over, and the dire consequences of doing so. Lucky for us Amanda also hands us ingenious and easy-to-implement ways out.
The Democracy Issue is a thoughtful look at the still-relevant lessons of the Declaration of Independence today, and experience how democracy plays out in our state – from dramatic moments in Florida’s history to our evolving constitutions, to how we vote, participate and learn to talk civilly to one another across our political divides.
Village SquareCast Podcast Series
In partnership with Florida Humanities, The Village Square has produced a series of podcasts that include a specially curated set of throwback episodes as well as new, original episodes!
Never miss an episode!
Tampa Bay Times | Newspaper In Education: Democracy Reignited
Grade levels: Middle and High school
Democracy requires sharing power with people you may not know, trust or agree with. Of course, there is a diversity of thought and ideals. The American Experiment is aspirational and assumes that the optimism of the human spirit propels people forward. The ultimate questions are: What does it take for a free people to govern themselves? Are we up to the task? Learn about the origins of the American experiment and what it takes to be an engaged citizen in this publication, produced in partnership with Florida Humanities.
- Click here to download the publication
- Click here to download the publication (Spanish)
- Click here to download the publication (Haitian Creole)
- Click here to download the Teacher Guide
- Click here to take the Teacher Survey
- Click here to take the Student Pre/Post Test
- Click here to download Florida Standards Updated 2021
Smithsonian Institution | SITES: American Democracy Digital Resources
In honor of the Smithsonian traveling exhibitions American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith and Voices and Votes: Democracy in America SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations are highlighting a diverse array of the Smithsonian’s digital resources that engage audiences around voting, elections, civic engagement, and citizenship.