The public debate has turned increasingly nasty: a contest among shrill voices demanding change that often addresses a single-pointed goal. It becomes a “my rights against yours, I win/you lose discussion.” Sadly, for our communities, states and nation — all to often the spoils of such debates go to those who shout loudest and longest — people who bolster their argument by shutting out other points of view. Those with softer voices, more flexible goals, or a willingness to listen and compromise increasingly remove themselves from the ear-splitting debate. They retreat from the public dialogue in anger and frustration. They are less and less likely to engage in their local civic process.
At Pomegranate Center, we believe there is another way. Our work facilitating community groups has taught us that under the right conditions people can be generous, compassionate and cooperative. During our 20 plus years in community development we have built proven strategies that allow people with diverging opinions to work together and find practical solutions with broad community support. We know that results can happen quickly, effectively and include many voices.
We often hear that community process doesn’t work because people don’t have the time, energy or interest to participate. At Pomegranate Center, it isn’t uncommon for our community engagement processes to include hundreds of people, contributing nearly 1000 hours of their time to planning for the future of their community.
People are hungry to participate – under the right conditions. Pomegranate Center is expert at creating those conditions.