The Citizen Project

Bringing People Together Across Differences

Bringing People Together Across Difference

Trends in America show that we are growing increasingly divided and angry toward each other. SAGE is concerned that as these trends persist, it will become harder for people to work together to find solutions to the growing public problems faced by younger and future generations.

The goal of our Citizen Project is to inspire and support people to work across differences to solve public problems. Each year, we aim to reach hundreds of people through our events and to help people identify shared goals in their communities and to work across differences to pursue these goals. We also collaborate with other groups and support partners working to strengthen civics education in schools.

Click for a summary of our teamwork in 2022.

Want to get more involved in this important work?

Help us reach new audiences by hosting or partnering with us to host a Citizen Project event. We offer many no-cost events. We can facilitate or co-facilitate with your group, and we can help defray costs for venues or refreshments. Each event has its own energy and pace, and the format can adapt to your needs. Our goal is for guests to feel comfortable sharing their views in a respectful and supportive atmosphere. The event can range from 1 to 3 hours, and it can be offered online, in-person, and hybrid.

Read on to learn about examples of Citizen Project events that we offer. Contact us to host or co-host an event.

Looking for other ways to get involved? Check out the great work of our partners listed below!

List Of Citizen Project Events

Today’s news can make us feel like our communities are more polarized and less able to bring people together to take on projects and solve problems. What do you think? Can we work across differences and lead good projects together?

In this gathering, guests explore whether they share long-term goals in their community and, if so, what projects might come about to pursue these goals.

Guests are encouraged to share their own ideas, insights, and actions. We also share tips and ideas for action, and we highlight the work of organizations across Oregon that help communities address public problems or take advantage of new opportunities.

This event is facilitated by SAGE. The format can be adapted for a 1 to 2-hour program. Materials provided.

There’s plenty in the news about what divides us, but let’s talk about what unites us. Turns out, that despite the rancor in the news and on social media, many of us share common values that unite us in service of a greater good.

In this conversation, we discuss common values as a foundation for working across divides. We also practice listening to each other so we can better understand our concerns and how each of us can make a difference.

This event is facilitated by SAGE. The format can be adapted for a 1 to 2-hour program. Materials provided.

Every American is affected by the divisions and outrage that prevent us from making progress on urgent problems. We are finding it harder and harder to even talk with one another, and it is damaging in many ways. During this event, we help participants deliberate together about how we should approach this long-term challenge.
 
We recognize there are no easy answers to the problem. Should we require more accurate, respectful discussion in the media and online, or would that stifle free speech? Should we reform politics and government to encourage compromise, or will that mean giving up on the changes we really need and want? Should local communities set policies in areas like health care and the environment, or would that risk the progress we’ve made and make further progress nearly impossible? Should we crack down on money in politics, or will people just find new ways to evade the rules?
 
SAGE's part of the solution to these divisions is to bring people together from diverse backgrounds to listen and learn from one another. During this event, we present three options for deliberation about difficult problems. Each option offers advantages as well as risks. And each refects different ways of understanding what is at stake, forcing us to think about what matters most to us.
 
At the close of the event, you can expect to have learned more about the pros and cons of the options from different viewpoints. We also hope that you will make personal connections with other participants and that some participants will use practices from the event to host similar conversations.

To support this event, we rely on a facilitation guide produced by the National Issues Forum called A House Divided.

This event is facilitated by SAGE. The format can be adapted for a 1.5 to 2-hour program. Materials provided.

Many young people think the United States is on the wrong track and fear that decisions by today’s leaders are robbing them, and those who come after them, of a better future. Distrust in political parties combined with concerns about racial inequality and the lack of fundamental fairness in our society are inspiring protests—many led by children and young adults—and fueling grassroots efforts to challenge the status quo.

During this event, you will have a chance to discuss and deliberate three options for creating a better future and stable economy for all young Americans. Option one is to equip people to succeed. Option two is to give everyone a fair chance. And Option three is to focus on our economic security.

All these options are important, but there are tradeoffs in how we implement them, and participants will discuss the key ideas and consider how we act on specific proposals that could bring about changes that will affect Americans of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic background.

Succeeding generations should inherit a society that is fairer and fiscally sound. Guests who join us share their views and ideas for how we create a brighter future.

To support this event, we rely on a facilitation guide produced by the National Issues Forum called Youth & Opportunity.

This event is facilitated by SAGE. The format can be adapted for a 1.5 to 2-hour program. Materials provided.

Ways To Volunteer With Citizen Project

SAGE's Citizen Project includes events and other initiatives to inspire and support people to work across differences to solve problems.

Host a SAGE Citizen Project Gathering on Effective Citizenship: The Leadership Role of Older Adults

Perhaps much in the news shocks you and makes you feel like our communities are more polarized, and less able to solve long-term challenges. You can take action. We invite you to host a SAGE gathering where guests share ideas, insights, and actions for constructive engagement.

Learn More

SAGE's Citizen Project includes events and other initiatives to inspire and support people to work across differences to solve problems.

Host a SAGE Citizen Project Gathering: Exploring Common Projects

Today’s news can make us feel like our communities are more polarized and less able to bring people together to take on projects and solve problems.
What do you think? Can we work across differences and lead good projects together?

We invite you to host a SAGE gathering where guests explore whether they share long-term goals in their community and, if so, what projects might come about to pursue these goals.

Learn More

Democracy Partners

Braver Angels
Braver Angels
Braver Angels is working to depolarize America by bringing liberals and conservatives together to better understand each other. They do that by teaching communication skills, hosting workshops, book and movie discussions, debates and much more. They have also launched an initiative called Braver Politics, which aims to help our elected officials communicate across party lines more effectively. Email [email protected]. Learn More
Citizens4Community
Citizens4Community
Citizens4Community (C4C) is a non-partisan organization in Sisters, Oregon that works with community members to promote healthy civic discourse and to help build collaborative skills and local networks. We host and support programs and projects that enhance teamwork and foster a more prosperous, empowered Sisters Country—one increasingly ready to address opportunities and challenges as they arise. Email: [email protected]. Learn More
Classroom Law Project
Classroom Law Project
The Classroom Law Project brings vital and engaging civics and law-related education programs into Oregon schools, teaching students at all grade levels the values and skills essential to participating in and strengthening democracy. There are many opportunities for members of the legal, judicial, and business community to volunteer to prepare youth to become active, engaged and informed participants in their communities. Email: [email protected] or call (503) 224-4424. For opportunities in Central Oregon, email Amy Sabbadini, [email protected]. Learn More
Community Conversations Bend
Community Conversations Bend
Community Conversations Bend offers events in Central Oregon for community members of all backgrounds to share stories and discuss issues that matter. There's an open feeling of trust and a bubbling up of ideas that break down the silos that are dividing our communities across the country. Contact: https://www.communityconversationsbend.org/upcoming-suppers.html.
  Learn More
Crossing Party Lines
Crossing Party Lines
Crossing Party Lines fosters open conversations between Americans with dissimilar ideologies to increase tolerance, build community, and encourage civic engagement. They teach the underlying skills required to sustain civil, respectful dialogue across the political spectrum and offer regular opportunities to practice through weekly, moderated conversations about the issues of the day. Contact: https://crossingpartylines.com/get-in-touch/
Learn More
Healthy Democracy
Healthy Democracy
Healthy Democracy is a US-based nonpartisan nonprofit that designs and coordinates innovative deliberative democracy programs. We believe in elevating the voices of everyday people in public decision making through democratic lotteries.  Email: [email protected]
Learn More
Oregon Humanities
Oregon Humanities
Oregon Humanities connects people and communities through conversation, storytelling, and participatory programs to inspire understanding and collaborative change. We are aiming for an Oregon that invites diverse perspectives, explores challenging questions, and strives for just communities. Email [email protected] humanities.org
Learn More
Oregon's Kitchen Table
Oregon's Kitchen Table
Oregon's Kitchen Table creates ways for all Oregonians to share their ideas, opinions, beliefs and resources in improving Oregon and our communities. OKT combines online and in-person engagement practices to create a wide variety of options. We are committed to engaging community members from all walks of life – particularly communities that typically have not been represented or engaged in public processes - to achieve deep engagement. Using culturally specific and targeted outreach, Oregon's Kitchen Table has a particular focus on hearing from Oregonians who have been left out of traditional engagement processes. We work with organizers, translators, and interpreters so materials and online and in-person engagement activities are available for Oregonians who speak a wide variety of languages and learn in a variety of ways. We recognize that people bring all different levels of knowledge and familiarity regarding issues and policies. We use approaches to ensure those who may not have as in-depth knowledge can still respond and share what they believe and have experienced. Email [email protected].
Learn More