Talking Circles, Town Meetings and "The Brazil I Want"
"The America I Want Is..." program has been inspired by two important North American traditions: the indigenous Talking Circle with its emphasis on listening, and the New England Town Meeting where communities gather annually to debate current issues and the future of their states. We were also impressed by methodology developed by Brazil's Globo TV network in their campaign "The Brazil I Want".
The Talking Circle
In the tradition of the Talking Circle, the tribe or band gathers to consider an important issue. A talking stick is passed from member to member. Only the person holding the stick may speak. Everyone else listens. There is no argument or crosstalk. The Talking Circle allows each tribal member to tap into the collective feelings and understanding of the whole group. “The America I Want Is…” program is respectfully incorporating this rich tradition to bring Americans together.
Indigenous Leaders Discuss Talking Circles
Vermont Town Meeting
For generations Vermonters have pondered the question of the America they want. From drawing up the first constitution to ban slavery to the legalization of gay marriage, Vermont has often found itself in the forefront of the American debate. The most important venue for Vermonters to deliberate and debate the matters of their state is the traditional annual Town Meeting. Vermonters have never shied away from sending a message about the America they want. This is one of the reasons why Linley Foundation has chosen to start an intentional national conversation here in Vermont: a liberal state with a Republican governor — a conservative history with a long-standing progressive streak.
The Brazil I Want
Rolled out in January 2018 by Brazilian network TV Globo during an election year, the campaign's main objective was to hear the video wishes of Brazilians from every state and community in the country. The brief 30-40 second messages were shown on the station's news programs. Over 50,000 Brazilians sent their videos.The main themes portrayed problems such as education, corruption, citizenship, health and public safety. Participation statistics included: 9% children; 7% teenagers; 13% seniors; and the remainder (71%) adults. Gender break down was 65% men and 28% women.