Press Release from Everyday Democracy: Ideas & Tools for Community Change, November 9, 2017

NATIONWIDE – For more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism.

This year, Everyday Democracy launched the first annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award, and out of 80 nominations, the Winchester Multicultural Network, of Winchester, Massachusetts was selected as one of five Honorable Mentions. The Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award honors work that creates opportunities for meaningful civic participation for all people, addresses racial inequities through dialogue and collective action, and shows the power of bridging all kinds of divides by making dialogue a regular part of how a community works.

The Winchester Multicultural Network (the “Network”) was founded over twenty-five years ago with the mission to promote the recognition, understanding and appreciation of diversity, to advocate for each and every person’s civil rights, and to confront intolerance. The Network provides a broad range of programs and offerings, including responding to and mediating incidents of bias and discrimination, supporting initiatives in the town’s public schools and local governments, and providing immigrant residents with social and cultural community-building programs and activities.

“We were truly overwhelmed by the scope and diversity of nominations, and the transformative work being done throughout the country,” said Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director Martha McCoy. “It’s been an honor to learn about the work the Winchester Multicultural Network is doing and of the ways people are creating opportunities to come together and create meaningful change and a democracy that includes all voices.”

Additional Honorees are: S. Nadia Hussain, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey; and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. Two organizations were honored as Promising Practices: Speaking Down Barriers of Spartansburg South Carolina, and WOKE of Greyslake Illinois.

Finalists for the award include: Families United for Education, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Racial and Social Justice Program of the Delaware YWCA, Wilmington, Delaware; Generation Justice, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Rapid City Community Conversations, Rapid City, South Dakota. The award winner will be announced November 15th.

About Paul J. Aicher

Paul J. Aicher and his wife Joyce were known for their generosity and creative genius. A discussion course at Penn State helped Paul find his own voice in civic life early on, and sparked his lifelong interest in helping others find theirs. Paul founded the Topsfield Foundation and the Study Circles Resource Center, now called Everyday Democracy, in 1989. The organization has now worked with more than 600 communities throughout the country, helping bring together diverse people to understand and make progress on difficult issues, incorporating lessons learned into discussion guides and other resources, and offering training and resources to help develop the field and practice of deliberative democracy. Learn More about Paul Aicher and the Paul J. Aicher Foundation.

About Everyday Democracy

Everyday Democracy is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since its inception, Everyday Democracy has worked with more than 600 communities by providing advice, training, tools and resources. It also partners with national and local organizations to strengthen the field of dialogue and deliberation and promote a stronger, more equitable democracy. The Topsfield Foundation, created in 1989, was re-named the Paul J. Aicher Foundation after Paul’s death in 2002. Learn More.