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Our Inspiration

 Talking Circles & Town Meetings

"The America I Want Is..." program is based on 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 their vision for their states.  

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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. 

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