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Let’s Talk About… A Series Fostering Informed and Inclusive Online Engagement

About the Series: 

The challenges we face as a nation, including physical distancing and isolation, can serve to highlight our political and economic divisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve faced the challenges of maintaining connections to our usual social, civic, and religious networks of support. The issues we face–as individuals and as a nation–can improve through virtual connections to the outside world.  We need to avoid ‘information bubbles’ and ‘echo chambers’ that reinforce division by stoking fear and anxiety and come together for dialog and conversation.

Resources exist to help us make meaningful connections. Perhaps more importantly, at this critical time, these resources can enable us to connect across the boundaries of our differences as we shape and share our views on how we, as a nation, can respond to our current crisis in ways that will make our communities stronger and more resilient for the future.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s CivicCLP initiative partnered with The Art of Democracy to create opportunities for informed and inclusive engagement online. Working together, we aim to amplify the voices of local people in ways that will energize voter participation in elections.

The partnership with The Art of Democracy also received consulting support from Carnegie Mellon University’s Program for Deliberative Democracy. As Robert Cavalier, Emeritus teaching professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University and Director of PDD explains:  “Free speech serves as a key part of the foundation of democratic governance. Informed and inclusive free speech through public deliberation — people engaging in well-structured discussions in the context of reliable information — is a crucial part of that foundation.”

Interested in participating with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on a Let’s Talk About… deliberative dialogue? Contact Jessica Bayless to learn more.

Previous Discussions:


April 7, 2021: Public Safety and Police Reform

Join CivicCLP and The Art of Democracy for Let’s Talk About…Public Safety and Police Reform, an opportunity for you and your neighbors to add local voices to a national dialogue.  The “Let’s Talk About…” series employs an innovative online engagement tool–Common Ground for Action–created by the nonpartisan National Issues Forums (NIF) to support “sustained practices of public deliberation on campuses and in communities across the country.”  In April, as we think out loud and together about public safety and police reform, we will consider issue guides and resources created by the NIF for a national dialogue alongside the recommendations put forth in the October 2020 report by the Pittsburgh Community Taskforce for Police Reform.

Required Reading:

Required Viewing:


October 21 and 24, 2021: How Should We Rebuild Our Economy?

CivicCLP, a civic engagement initiative of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in partnership with The Art of Democracy, will host two opportunities in October 2020 for informed and inclusive virtual public deliberations on the U.S. Economy, a key issue facing the country this election year.

Required Reading/Viewing:

Recommended Reading/Viewing:

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