Jul 4, 2022
We are reminded daily, in every scroll through social media, disputed election, tense family function and divisive school board meeting that America is a fractured nation. The polarization is so extreme that increasing numbers of our public leaders no longer identify democracy as a core value. In this episode of Power Station, we learn how the humanities (the arts, history, and philosophy) can be instrumental in creating a safe space for challenging conversations. Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, describes what happens when people come together with a common purpose, leaving titles, biases, and egos behind. Oregon Humanities, one of 56 councils launched in 1971 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, uses poems, visuals, and stories to prompt non-combative dialogue. They train nonprofit leaders how to facilitate discussions that build bonds among people with disparate views and lived experience. Oregon Humanities is generating measurable impacts, most importantly a sense of agency among those who engage in these events. And the movement is growing, a hopeful sign for bridging gaps in a tenuous democracy.