Civic Engagement

Engaging & Connecting our Diverse Communities via Group Dialogue

‘Celebrate Diversity Miami’ (CDM) is a new initiative inspired in part by the work of a well-established, local nonprofit called MCCJ, which creates safe spaces for dialogue between people of all cultures, religions and races; and by the renowned exhibit ‘Coexistence,’ which travelled the world throughout the 2000s to contribute to dialogue in communities about our differences, while encouraging people to think about issues of tolerance and understanding. CDM envisions a united greater Miami community, where residents from all backgrounds feel accepted, connected, and valued.

 

In order to accomplish this visionary goal, CDM is taking a creative approach to encourage dynamic intergroup dialogue. CDM consists of two distinct, yet complementary, components: a photo-voice exhibit, and the intergroup dialogue. We see the photography element as a source of visual expression to spark much-needed conversations on why it’s so beneficial to celebrate our diverse community. While the photo-voice exhibit is a tangible piece of CDM, providing an opportunity to engage as many residents in greater Miami as possible; the dialogue gatherings will take this initiative a step further, allowing people to come together and connect on a deeper level.

Who are you?

Naomi is a connector dedicated to creatively developing initiatives that spark conversation on diversity, encourage collaboration, and inspire action for positive social change. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Community & Social Change at UM.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

As described by U of Michigan professors, intergroup dialogue “… represents a grassroots effort to meet one of the major challenges facing our democracy today: the lack of communication among diverse groups of people in schools … communities, and … workplace. By forging lines of communication among different elements of society, [it] helps to create a more just, harmonious, and strong democracy.” This approach can impact Civic Participation by developing a more empathic & collaborative culture.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

To effectively address the “unmet needs of … residents,” CDM will focus on bringing people of all cultural & economic backgrounds together. CDM believes that part of feeling “connected … to the place they live” includes cultivating stronger connections between residents themselves. Since there are so many “transplants from out of the state or country” it’s very important to familiarize them with what makes our community unique; and what better way to do so than by dialoguing with local citizens?

Please give examples of your project's success.

CDM held an interactive kick-off event in Oct. ‘14, bringing together 150+ people of all ages & cultural backgrounds on a bicycle ride to learn about several positive social change efforts taking place in Overtown, Liberty City, & Little Haiti. We've also been developing partnerships with local schools & community-based organizations in order to connect with the largest network of residents possible for the initial photo-voice exhibit, & upcoming intergroup dialogue component of our initiative.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Celebrate Diversity Miami

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