Democracy Reignited: A Special Initiative of Florida Humanities

Democracy Reignited Special Initiative
Democracy Reignited Special Initiative

Questions? Contact:

Patricia Putman
Associate Director
[email protected]

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


Dr. Robb Willer: How to Have Better Political Conversations or: Ending this Zombie Apocalypse

Thursday, September 15 @ 7:00 pm EST (via Zoom)

Dr. Robb Willer, director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab at Stanford University, has been working on understanding the moral underpinnings of this accelerating anger, and his research shows everyone is speaking different languages. This conversation makes Robb, a movie buff, think of zombie apocalypse films and wonder if everyone is acting like “foot soldiers in the army of the undead” in political conversations.

Join Dr. Willer for highly-relatable, user-friendly, and scientifically-grounded advice on how to improve the quality of political conversations and possibly ditch a few zombies along the way.

Register Now

Mónica Guzmán: I Never Thought of it That Way

Thursday, October 27 @ 7:00 pm EST (via Zoom)

Ready to fight back against the confusion, heartbreak, and madness of a dangerously divided time? Find the answers by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking questions across the divides. Seeking where people are coming from is easier than previously thought.

Mónica Guzmán is Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America, host of the Crosscut interview series Northwest Newsmakers, and author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.

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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.

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Watch Now, On-demand!

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.

FORUM Magazine

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.

Read The Democracy Issue Online

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!
Subscribe below.


Digital Resources

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.

Visit Tampa Bay Times | Newspaper in Education
Newspapers in Education, Democracy Reignited

We Hold These Truths…from the Spring 2020 FORUM Magazine

An essay by a noted Harvard scholar and author on what we can learn from the Declaration of Independence today. By Danielle Allen.

Download We Hold These Truths
We hold these truths…An essay by a noted Harvard scholar and author on what we can learn from the Declaration of Independence today. By Danielle Allen.

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.

Access American Democracy Digital Resources
SITES is proud to be the Smithsonian’s ambassador and emissary through traveling and virtual exhibits.
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